Britain's new coalition government has made the disclosure of pay differences between men and women voluntary for all employers.
The previous Labour government had set up a deadline of 2013 for when employers must publish details of compensation differences under the Equality Act 2010.
Instead, the coalition government will monitor voluntary reporting to see what effect it has on gender pay differences, said Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone.
The idea is for the government to empower businesses and communities to make change happen, rather than dictate what is "best," Featherston told the BBC.
But the voluntary measures threaten to turn the clock back on progress already made with pay equity, said Dave Prentis, general secretary at Unison.
The Equality Act 2010 came into force in England, Wales and Scotland at the beginning of October. It aims to ban employer discrimination in areas such as age, disability and pay.
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