A minimum of 170 days is required to fire a federal employee for poor performance, if a government agency properly follows the required dismissal process.
The government firing process is so lengthy that departments often keep bad employees to avoid it, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“The time and resource commitment needed to remove a poor performing permanent employee can be substantial,” the GAO said. “It can take six months to a year (and sometimes longer) to dismiss an employee.”
In order to fire a government worker federal managers can consult a 12-step flow chart, which the GAO provided in the report released Monday. The report examined the “long-standing personnel issue” of the government’s inability to fire bad employees.
Federal agencies have two procedural options when faced with firing a poor worker: chapters 43 and 75 of title 5 of the United States Code, and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) implementing regulations.