The Bett committee on pay and conditions for university staff, which was supposed to report at the end of the month, is to hold another meeting, pushing back the expected publication date until June.
Peter Thorpe, secretary to the committee, said: "The meeting has been requested by some of the members." He said the reason was the desire for another look at the document.
But employers may be worried by reports that large amounts of extra money are needed to rectify pay imbalances in higher education, particularly between men and women. The report is understood to call for a real-terms rise in the academic-pay bill of about 9 per cent by 2002, with an 8 per cent rise in expenditure on non-academic staff.
This would mean increasing UK university funding by about Pounds 576 million. But increases in the pay packets of individual staff would be uneven.
Most of the extra cash would have to be used to boost pay for women who get less than their male counterparts, for young academics, those at the top and bottom of the pay scale and for researchers. High costs are also expected from efforts to cut casualisation.
Any increase would depend on the government's willingness to fund it.