The Fiscal 2016 Defense authorization law has extended the probationary period from one to two years for employees hired on or after November 26, 2015 by the Department of Defense to permanent jobs in the competitive service, or appointed to the Senior Executive Service. 10 USC 1599e. See, PUBLIC LAW 114–92—NOV. 25, 2015 at Sec. 1105 . Required probationary period for new employees of the Department of Defense, http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/olc/docs/PL114-92.pdf at pages 299-300 of 585.
During a probationary period, an employee may be fired without advance notice and will have limited appeal rights to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Discrimination and other protections still apply.
Under the new law. probationary terms may vary for employees who transfer to DOD from another federal agency career position. An employee transferring from another agency who has not completed a probationary period may be required to complete a new probationary period. Credit for prior federal civilian service toward completion of a probationary period may apply in accordance with applicable federal regulation
An employee transferring from another agency who has already completed a probationary period under an initial appointment in the competitive service, having attained full appeal rights to the Merit Systems Protection Board, does not have to serve another probationary period under this DOD authority.
An employee transferring from another agency who receives a career appointment in the Senior Executive Service in the DoD on or after Nov. 26, 2015, must serve a two-year probationary period.
Please note that the reason for the new two year rule was the complexity of some DOD required more time for an employee to learn the job and a supervisor to evaluate performance. Accordingly, you want to be sure your boss sees that you have learned the job and can perform it.
If you did learn the job and performed but still are fired during a probationary period because of marital status or for political reasons or because of prohibited discrimination of whistle blowing, you may have rights, even if probationary. Call us if you experience these situations. 202-299-8496.