Jo Swinson
Business minister Jo Swinson said minimum wage cheat employers face penalties of up to £20,000 Reuters

The government has "named and shamed" a further 37 minimum wage cheat employers in a bid to deter companies from breaking the law.

The Department for Business said the employers owe their workers more than £177,000 ($269,155, €229,005) in arrears and have been charged financial penalties totalling more than £51,000.

Business minister Jo Swinson warned that paying less than the minimum wage (of £6.50 an hour for adults aged 21 and over) is "illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable".

"If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action by naming, shaming and fining them as well as helping workers recover the hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay owed to them," she said.

"We are also looking at what more we can do to make sure workers are paid fairly in the first place."

Swinson said minimum wage cheat employers face penalties of up to £20,000.

"We are legislating through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill so that this penalty can be applied to each underpaid worker rather than per employer," she explained.

The government has already named 55 employers since the new naming regime came into force in October 2013.

It had total arrears of more than £139,000 and total penalties of over £60,000, according to official figures.

Employers unsure of minimum wage rules can get free advice via the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.