Potential changes to employment laws in the UK have been put on hold because of the effects of the credit crunch.
The government was considering a review of recent policy announcements, including an extension of the right to request flexible working. However, this is now set to be postponed.
Sarah Jackson, chief executive officer of the Working Families charity, said this decision "critically undermines" business secretary Peter Mandleson's claim that he wants to ease to burden on companies so they are less likely to make staff cuts.
However, David Yeandle, head of employment policy at manufacturers' body the EEF, had a different opinion, arguing that the government needs "to give employers more time to adapt to the current legislation" and this is now being reinforced "by the more difficult economic environment that we are now facing."
Last week, it was reported that the government plans to change flexible working rights so that they now apply to people with children aged between six and 16.