The laid-off chronicles: Nannies getting the axe


I wrote earlier this week about how child care is becoming a luxury that many families can't afford; and in the post I predicted that, in a prolonged downturn, "full-time child care will be a perk that only the wealthiest two-income families even consider." In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, news that the recession has hit, not just child care agencies, but also the least recession-proof workers of all: nannies.

Unlike child care centers, nannies are often employed by one-income families, and those two-income families whose cash flow never seems (from the outside, at least) to be in question. The Journal has the sad story of a woman whose employers (with their six-bedroom, nine-bath home, with its private movie theatre, its beachfront lushness) "tearfully" laid her off after having had to cut expenses 75%. When children are in school full-time, nannies become less of a necessity, even for the upper-middle class and decidedly upper-class folks. If they ever were a necessity to begin with.

It sucks that nannies have to be laid off. I feel for the people, often immigrants who have a hard time finding jobs outside of household work (where social security numbers are rarely required). However, I have a hard time feeling for the tearful employers who now have to cut down on household help. Maybe the parents will have to spend a little more time with their children now. Sniff sniff.