WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to advance legislation introduced by Congressman James Comer (KY-01) known as the Ensuring A Qualified Civil Service (EQUALS) Act.


This legislation would help address a common problem facing federal managers who do not have sufficient time to assess whether or not prospective employees are qualified for government service before they become permanent members of the federal workforce. It would also give new hires time to complete required training or licensing programs before being evaluated on whether or not they can perform the job they were hired to do.


To solve this problem, the EQUALS Act extends the existing probationary period for new hires from one year to two years. During this time, an unqualified probationary employee can be removed from government service without the lengthy and difficult process required for permanent employees. A two-year probationary period would also be implemented for new appointments in the Senior Executive Service.


This bill also requires agencies to notify managers when an employee’s probationary period will be ending and requires supervisors to certify that the employee is qualified for conversion to career status.


“Having served in both state and federal government, I’ve seen firsthand the critical importance of a qualified government workforce. The EQUALS Act will ensure the American people are served by a professional and competent civil service. It will also provide sufficient time for federal managers to assess the performance of probationary employees and for new hires to demonstrate proficiency in their roles. This legislation will benefit the federal workforce and, most importantly, the American people whom they serve,” said Congressman Comer.


“The EQUALS Act implements necessary reforms to advance our workforce and ensure its efficiency. I thank Congressman Comer for introducing this bill and for his commitment to improving our federal workforce,” said Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (SC-04).


The EQUALS Act is supported by the Government Managers Coalition (GMC), which is composed of five major federal sector professional associations that represent more than 200,000 supervisors, managers and executives serving in the federal government.