Companies that fail to pay their staff the minimum wage could face a fine of £200 per underpaid worker, the Department of Trade and Industry said today.Presently, employers are forced to pay back the difference they owe to their staff if found to be flaunting minimum wage regulations, but Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said today that companies who fail to pay up will soon be penalised."Workers have the right to a decent minimum wage and we are determined they get it," Mr Darling commented. "To those employers avoiding the minimum wage the message is don’t pay it and you’ll pay the fine," the Trade and Industry Secretary warned, citing the fact that government enforcement teams helped over 25,000 workers get £3 million back in unpaid wages in the last year alone. "The vast majority of good employers need to know they are operating on a level playing field. These measures will help deliver that," he continued.A spokesman for the Forum of Private Business said that the government should ensure that companies are aware of the changes in regulations, stating that businesses are sometimes "not aware of changes to minimum wage".Over 1.2 million people benefited from last year’s minimum wage increase.© Adfero Ltd