Friday, April 10, 2020

“While many companies are cutting jobs, salaries, and scaling back, we’ve just added more benefits to support employees—and quickly, too. This is just one example of how our company values employees and their families, adjusting policies to support us during times of need."

– Stephanie Kane, Principal Scientist 

climbing wall

Flexible work hours and time at home allowed Dr. Ryan Kilgore to finish a family climbing wall with his son, Will, shown here meeting with teammates for an online training session.

On March 18, 2020, the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) required companies to support working parents who lost access to childcare due to COVID-19 closures. It’s an important first step, but leadership at Charles River Analytics, developer of intelligent systems solutions located in Cambridge, felt it wasn’t enough. They created an internal plan to augment FFCRA so that employees working reduced hours don’t receive a pay cut due to the limits and salary caps on the FFCRA benefit.

The hard work of Charles River’s technical and support staff at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis meant the company was well-prepared with full telework capabilities to remain operational during the current social distancing period. Since Charles River primarily offers US defense sector R&D services, their customer agencies are also operational.

Karen Harper, President, shared, “We are so grateful that we have the opportunity to continue working to provide our employee-owners with economic stability and address our customers’ continued needs in this time. However, this has come with very real challenges for many of our Charles River family members. Among our staff are parents, single parents, and caregivers for elderly family members, all of whom have lost access to their care resources.

“While we appreciate the federal FFCRA program’s support for additional paid leave, we felt the guidelines did not fully protect our staff from lost wages while they are contending with the unique needs of their families in this challenging time,” she continued. “We didn’t want anyone on our team to experience reduced wages or additional stress when what they need most right now is relief and support, so we developed a leave augmentation plan to help them meet the unique everyday challenges of this time.”

Jess DeCristoforo, Director of HR, added, “We’ve always offered flexibility in terms of hours and work location. After studying the government mandate and polling our staff, we realized it meant that those in our community currently struggling most—our working parents—would have to take a pay cut. We just couldn’t let that happen.”

At Charles River Analytics, our most valuable resource is our people. We are truly a family—we help one another succeed for our customers and we support each other’s wins, both in and out of our office. Our collaborative culture means we can transform our systems and keep delivering to our customers, even under rapidly changing conditions.

“I’ve been at Charles River for 17 years, despite numerous other offers,” said Camille Monnier, Principal Scientist. “This is exactly why I stay – we’re an employee-owned company, and over and over, our leadership makes decisions that support the people that work here.”

Charles River Analytics was named as one of Boston’s Best Places to Work in 2017 and 2019.

Dr. Ryan Kilgore’s daughter, Rory, completed a successful run of her Rube Goldberg Machine, which she developed for the now-postponed Science Olympiad

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