Trickle-Downsizing: Laid-Off Professionals Can't Afford to Keep the Help

01/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

IN September, Cathy DeVore, a real estate agent in Larchmont, N.Y., whose business has been at a standstill lately, began taking gradual steps to lay off her longtime nanny and housekeeper. Aware that the woman supports a son, a mother, and a niece in Dominica, and worried for their well-being, Mrs. DeVore wanted to make sure her employee found another source of income before losing her $500-a-week salary.

"I told her I was worried about her job security with me, and found her an additional day of work with my sister, and told her that she should start saving because I was worried about having to cut her back more," Mrs. DeVore said. "In October I started a no-overtime policy; in November I told her that as of Jan. 1, I am cutting her back to 20 hours a week, and that as of June 30, I probably won't need her at all."

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