impactnews: The Importance of Documenting Employee Performance Issues

When employees exhibit performance or behavioral issues, it’s critical that employers work to document these issues as they occur.

One key reason for this is that the legal notion of “at will employment” is not always enough to protect employers in the event of litigation (e.g., wrongful termination claims).

The problem, according to legal experts, is that if an employer has little or no documentation and relies on at-will employment, the terminated employee (via their attorney and even a jury) may have an advantage in court.

Addressing performance and behavioral problems as they arise tend to lead to improved performance and behavior. With the saying “don’t delay, manage today” in mind, here are several other points to note:

  • Talking to these employees about the issues at hand may lead to improved employees (and help reduce turnover costs). If employees don’t know they’re doing something wrong, they can’t fix it.
  • No one likes being in trouble. If you talk to an employee about an issue and they understand that failure to improve will result in another talking to, they are likely to shape up.
  • Documentation makes it real for the employee. It’s easy to brush off oral scoldings, but when employees know paper is “going in their employee file,” they may take these situations more seriously.
  • Other employees will catch on. If you are consistent in addressing performance and behavioral issues, your employees will know it.

The bottom line is that talking to employees and documenting their performance issues will help strengthen your team and protect your company.

impactAction: If you have questions or want to learn more about addressing employee performance issues, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Minimum Wage Increases Begin in MD, DC on July 1

Employers in Montgomery County, MD and in the District of Columbia (DC) should note minimum wage increases going into effect this Monday, July 1.

Montgomery County, which sets its own statutory minimum wage, is set to increase its minimum wage to $13 per hour on July 1 for companies with 51+ employees. In addition, for employers of 10 or fewer employees, the county’s minimum wage increases to $12.50 per hour.

For DC, the minimum wage increases to $14 (up from the current $13.25) this July 1 – and will cap at $15 per hour on July 1, 2020.
For the state of Maryland, the state’s minimum wage rose to $10.10 per hour in 2018 with no change set for 2019. (In 2020, the state minimum wage goes up to $11 per hour and eventually to $15 per hour in 2025 for organizations with 15+ employees.)

Virginia’s minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour in 2019 in line with the federal minimum wage level.

Paid Family Leave Tax Collection Starts July 1 for DC Employers

The District of Columbia’s (DC) Department of Employment Services (DOES) will begin collecting taxes from all DC employers Monday, July 1, 2019 to fund the Paid Family Leave benefit.

This new benefit will be covered via a DC-managed insurance fund that will begin administering paid leave benefits in July 2020. Employers will fund the payroll tax, regardless of whether they provide additional leave benefits to employees.

Under this program, DC employers will contribute 0.62% of the wages of each of its covered employees (those who spend more than 50% of their time working in DC ) to the Universal Paid Leave Implementation Fund each quarter.

The first contribution is due July 1, 2019.

Employer contributions will be collected electronically through the DOES Self Service online portal (in the same manner as employers make their unemployment insurance tax contributions).

For more employer information, the DOES has posted this Employer FAQ. In addition, the DOES webpage includes a downloadable Employer Toolkit plus a webinar on compliance.

impactAction: If you have questions or need assistance with any aspect of DOES paid leave compliance, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Mid-Year Note: Consider Updating or Building Your Employee Handbook

With mid-year at hand, consider reviewing and updating your current employee handbook content. Or if your organization or company doesn’t have one in place, it’s a good time to start the process of building one for your employees.

Here are some questions to ask when reviewing or building your employee handbook:

  • Are there any policy updates that need to be made?
  • Have any procedures changed that need updating?
  • Does it contain clear, consistent and concise language?
  • Is the employee handbook orderly and well-organized?
  • Does the handbook reflect your unique company culture?

Providing a polished, organized employee handbook can help build and maintain good relationships with your employees.

Ideally, your handbook should be updated regularly to ensure policies and procedures are current. It also needs to reflect applicable changes in law that have occurred through the year.

Lastly, it’s important to look at, and refine where necessary, your handbook’s language and tone. This helps remove imprecise or confusing language in the handbook, promoting clarity and understanding among your employees.

impactAction: If you have questions or want to learn more employee handbooks, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Government Contractors Must Post OFCCP Posters on Premises

As a reminder, the US Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requires employers covered by the OFCCP’s nondiscrimination and EEO laws to post prominently on their premises the “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster and the “EEO is the Law” Poster Supplement.

These posters, which are free and downloadable from the OFCCP website, provide information on OFCCP’s nondiscrimination and EEO laws plus the procedures for filing complaints with the agency. Learn more.