A survey carried out by plumbing assurance scheme, WaterSafe, has found over half of plumbers are working over the maximum working hours within the Working Time Directive.

The survey has revealed 54% of plumbers work more than 48 hours a week, with a further 26% working between 40-48 hours, and just 13% working between 35-40 hours.

Furthermore, 94% of plumbers think their long hours have had a negative impact on their family and social life.

In total, 61% of plumbers said they have had to extend their working hours over the last ten years. When asked if they thought the recession had impacted their business, 77% said yes, with 41% saying customers claim cost is now the most important thing, rather than the best person for the job.

Plumbers also link their increase in working hours to social media. Nearly  73% of those surveyed said they felt technology and social media had made them feel like they were always working and as though they couldn’t "switch off". However, 27% said this was a good thing as it has opened up more job opportunities for them. 

Kevin Wellman, CEO of the CIPHE and board member of WaterSafe, commented: “There’s no doubt that the recession has affected all of us in some way or another. However, it’s concerning to see that such a large proportion of plumbers are having to go over and above the maximum working hours within the Working Time Directive, in order to meet the demands from homeowners and maintain competitiveness in the marketplace.

“It’s important that the industry steps up to addresses this issue because overworked, tired plumbers could potentially result in unsafe installations and have a negative impact on their home life. Moreover, if we want to encourage young people into the industry we need to ensure hours are realistic and the industry is a well-regulated, safe place to work.”