Most people would refuse to use the services of a business if it paid its workers less than the minimum wage, according to a new study.
Nine out of 10 believe employers paying below the statutory rate are a "disgrace", a survey of more than 2,000 adults for the Government found
The Business Department said its research revealed that firms risk "huge damage" to their business through loss of reputation if minimum wage laws are flouted.
Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said: "Most employers are responsible and pay their staff properly. Government is cracking down on those few rogue companies who are not doing the right thing and breaking the law by underpaying their staff.
"Employers should be well aware of the different rates for the national minimum wage, depending on the circumstances of their workers. Ignorance is no excuse
"Employers who fail to pay workers the right amount will face a financial penalty, be publicly named and shamed, and may even be prosecuted. Today's research also shows the impact on staff productivity and a business's reputation of underpaying workers. Businesses can't ignore this issue and stick their head in the sand."
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "There should be no hiding places for employers who fail to pay the minimum wage.
"This important legal pay floor has a very well-regarded place in our society and bad employers must come to realise that they ignore it at their peril.
"The Government should name the worst minimum wage cheats as quickly as possible, and take more cases to court."