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Biotech Blocked

Hardworking Single Mom Hurt by State’s IC Law

This is the true story of Andrea, a suddenly-single mother living west of Boston. She’s a graduate of UMass Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Andrea has two charming pre-schoolers and no means of support. Despite being skilled, hardworking, flexible and personable, Andrea faces a situation she cannot fix.

A Responsible Scientific Employee. Andrea has over 10 years of experience in the biotech industry ranging from direct sample handling and processing, to analyzing the raw data that comes off the pipeline of automated equipment, to preparing the analysis for the user.

After graduating from UMass, Andrea worked in biotech for the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge. She moved up to a similar job in Waltham with a private company, where her department was purchased by a small startup in Beverly. Andrea was one of nine professionals who moved to the new company. She grew into a supervisory role in charge of a group that handled specialized and nonstandard projects. She commuted to these sites from her condo on the I-495 belt around Boston.

She got married and kept working. She and her husband bought a home well to the west of Boston because the location was convenient for his work, even though it was far from the cluster of biotech businesses closer to Boston. She continued to commute to Beverly, but when her second child arrived, the commute became impossible.

Balancing Family, Profession, and Location. As soon as her younger child, a son named Spencer, was old enough, Andrea resumed working. She found she could do the data analytics from home, and often filled in for other workers on maternity leave. She was converting Standard Operating Procedures to comply with clinical certification, as well as remotely handling and processing data. The work was part-time but paid her $35 per hour, the equivalent of $70,000 per year – roughly the rate she’d been making while employed full time, She was paid as a 1099, a contract worker. She worked steadily and got regular contract extensions.