Longer Probation Would Not Affect Most Current Federal Employees

A House bill (HR-4182) up for a vote this week to double the standard probationary period government-wide primarily would apply to newly hired employees although it would apply to current employees in certain circumstances.

The two-year probation requirement would take effect one year after enactment and would apply only to those hired after that effective date. Although not specified by the bill, those who have completed a probationary period presumably would not have to serve a new period on appointment to a new position; that has been the practice at DoD, which already uses a two-year period.

However, after the effective date, the two-year  period would apply to new appointments in the SES of current federal employees, as well as to those newly appointed to a supervisory or managerial position.

Those who fail those additional probationary periods typically are not separated from the government but instead are returned to a position no lower than the one they left, according to the MSPB.