In addition to defining the rules for collective bargaining, the State plays a very direct and important role in determining its outcome on wages by setting a national minimum wage (SMIC). This is increased at least every year, based on inflation which is the poorest fifth of French households, plus half of the purchasing power gain of all employees. In addition, the government can and does more than that. In 2018, nearly two million people (1,980,000) or 11.5% of private sector employees (except apprentices and temporary workers) benefited directly from the 1.2% increase in the minimum wage as of 1 January 2018.  The whole of labour law, including the provisions relating to employer representation, union representation and collective bargaining, is incorporated into the labour code. Since 2015, the labour code has changed considerably, with the main reform being the introduction of the Employment and Social Dialogue Act. The aim of the 2015-994 law of 17 August 2015 is to simplify the organisation of information and advisory centres and to ensure the representation of employees in companies with fewer than 11 employees. A major labour law reform took place in November 2015. The reform (Law 2016-1088 of 8 August 2016) contains new and important working time provisions that give priority to enterprise-level agreements on inter-professional agreements. The role of the Works Council will at least depend on whether the company employs fewer or more than 50 people. Its composition, operation and role can be negotiated in each company and determined by a collective agreement. The importance of enterprise-level negotiations has increased in recent years and legislative changes introduced in September 2017 marked a new decisive step and put an end to the current situation, where agreements at the sectoral level were given priority, except in well-defined circumstances, mainly with regard to negotiations on working time and leave.
Since 2017, the position has been reversed. It is now enterprise-level agreements that have priority, unless the law gives priority to sectoral agreements. When drafting a bill through the consultation process, the government is not required to accept the content of a collective agreement as it has been concluded to date.