Question: Is it true that hardly any federal employees are fired or leave until they can retire?

Answer: That depends on your definition of “hardly any,” but the Merit Systems Protection Board recently reported that “history demonstrates that once an individual is hired into the federal government, that person tends to remain in federal service for a long time.”

Ten percent of new employees voluntarily resign in their first year, a rate falling to 4 percent in the second year and then down to 1 percent in the eighth year, where it remains through the 17th year, then down to 0.2 percent in the 20th year.

There’s a similar pattern on firing, although at lower levels: 1.7 percent in the first year, dropping to 0.3 percent in the second and remaining at 0.3 to 0.2 percent until dropping to 0.1 percent at 20 years.

Said the MSPB: “Federal agencies can remove most new hires in their first year of employment fairly easily if the new hire is serving a probationary period and does not perform to expectations. Once employees complete the probationary period, they obtain due process and appeal rights that make it more time consuming to separate them involuntarily.”