WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Comer’s (KY-01) bill, the Ensuring a Qualified Civil Service (EQUALS) Act (H.R. 4182).

The EQUALS Act extends the existing probationary period for new federal employees from one year to two years. During this time, an underperforming probationary employee can be removed from government service without the lengthy and difficult appeals process required for permanent employees. A two-year probationary period will also be implemented for new appointments in the Senior Executive Service to ensure equal treatment throughout the federal workforce.

This change will allow managers sufficient time to assess whether or not prospective employees are qualified for public service before becoming permanent federal employees. It also gives employees time to receive training and demonstrate proficiency in their roles before their manager makes a determination about their fitness for federal service.

To ensure the probationary period is used as intended, the EQUALS Act requires managers to be notified one year, six months, three months and 30 days before the end of an employee’s probationary period. Additionally, agencies are required to certify that an employee has successfully completed the probationary period, and provide justification for that decision.  

“It is an honor to see my first bill pass the House of Representatives today. The EQUALS Act is good for the federal workforce and the American people whom they serve. I was proud to lead the effort to pass this commonsense government reform legislation in the House and I look forward to continuing my work to make our federal government more effective, responsive and accountable,” Congressman Comer said.

“Generally, government employment comes with overly stringent job protections, which can make it almost impossible to remove bad employees. Whether or not those protections should exist, it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure employees are right for the job before they are guaranteed that ‘job for life.’ With the passage of the EQUALS Act, we extend the evaluation period to give new federal employees the time necessary to demonstrate their competence and appropriateness for taxpayer funded positions. Representative James Comer’s bill will make our government better at serving the American people, and I applaud his hard work to make Washington accountable,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23).