Public services union Unison says too many public sector employers view the Equal Pay Act as a "take-it-or-leave-it bit of legislation".
Unison has lodged 33,000 equal pay claims to begin its 2008 campaign against the gender pay gap.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed a 17 per cent gap in pay between men and women. An Ipsos Mori poll published last October showed 70 per cent of women believe not enough is being done to level out the inequality.
Unison's general secretary, Dave Prentis, believes employers should accept their responsibilities to act within the framework of the Equal Pay Act.
"Equal pay is not just the wish list of the trade unions; it is the law of the land," he said.
"It must be implemented robustly across the UK and the government must do its bit to fund equal pay for the public services."
Mr Prentis said much of the problem lay in local government, with funding judged "critical" to achieving fair pay. He applauded the £500 million released to 46 local authorities in September 2006 but warned that "more is needed".
Recent announcements on three per cent efficiency savings, together with the three-year pay limit announced yesterday by prime minister Gordon Brown, were expected to "do nothing to further the aim of fair and equal pay", he added.
Equal pay campaigning group the Fawcett Society, which participated with Unison in making October 30th 'women's no pay day' last year, predicts it will take 80 years to close the full-time pay gap at current rates of progress.