In a seasonal boost for low-paid workers around the country, the Inland Revenue has helped over 5000 workers receive the money due to them.
Investigations into employers who don't pay the national minimum wage over the past six months has resulted in £2.4 million being returned to employees.
This brings the total returned since April 1999 up to nearly £18 million.
The minimum wage currently stands at £4.85 for workers 22 and older, and £4.10 for 18 to 21 year-olds.
Unions though are pushing for the level to be raised above £5 an hour.
Announcing the latest figures, Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt, said: "Its great news that this money was recovered in time for Christmas, but employees should be covered throughout the year - not just during the season of goodwill.
"The national minimum wage provides a basic level under which no one working should fall. The vast majority of employers do comply with the rules, but we are determined that all low paid workers should get the pay they are entitled."
She promised to "carry on tracking down those unscrupulous bosses who refuse to pay the national minimum wage when they should be and make them pay up."
Specific cases highlighted include a holiday company in Devon and Cornwall which was forced to pay £177,000 in arrears, shared between 41 workers.
Any workers who do not believe they are being paid the correct rate are urged to contact the Inland Revenue to check.