This bill — known as the EQUALS Act — would extend the existing probationary period for federal workers in the competitive service and the Senior Executive Service from one year to two years after the completion of required training and licensing. During a probationary period a federal employee can be removed from their position more easily than after their probationary period ends. The bill would also modify eligibility for protection from adverse actions for probationary employees.
Agencies would be required to:
Clearly explain the probationary period in any job posting or offer of employment;
Tell employees in probationary positions the expectations in order to be retained;
Notify supervisors 30 days before the end of a probationary period;
Certify satisfactory completion of probationary periods for employees agencies retained after the end of the period.
To be eligible for adverse action procedures for misconduct an employee in the competitive service would have to both complete a probationary or trial period and complete two years of current continuous employment in the same or a similar position. A non-preference eligible employee would have to do the same, while an individual in the excepted service an employee would have to complete two years of continuous employment in the same or a similar position. Individuals wouldn’t be entitled to appeal a removal or reduction in grade until they have completed those requirements.
This legislation would take effect one year after its enactment.
The bill’s full title is the Ensuring A Qualified Civil Service Act of 2017.