However, the employer must reach an agreement on equality between men and women or older workers or, if the social partners do not reach an agreement, adopt an action plan. The annual evaluation of collective bargaining, initiated by the Ministry of Labour, provides an overview of the main topics that are being negotiated at the industry and company level. The decentralization of collective bargaining leads to very little coordination of wage negotiations. The social partners at company level have significant autonomy in negotiations on wage developments, as only minimum rates are negotiated at sectoral level. In many sectors, negotiated minimum wages remain below the statutory minimum wage that must be respected. There is little horizontal coordination. Ministry of Labour, Directorate General of Labour (DGT) (2018), Collective bargaining in 2017 [Collective bargaining 2017], DARES, Paris. The employment contract of a worker on sick leave is considered suspended. Absence due to illness cannot form the basis of dismissal.
However, in the event of prolonged or repeated leave, the employer may be allowed (under certain conditions) to terminate the employment contract on the grounds that the absence of the worker hinders the proper functioning of the undertaking and that, consequently, the undertaking is obliged to replace the worker on a lasting basis. The employee continues to receive his salary during his absence if he meets certain conditions of the labour code or the collective agreement in force, if this is more favourable. During illness, after an additional period of three days, salaries are paid by the national health insurance. Any hour worked beyond the 35 hours provided for by law is considered overtime. Since 1 January 2017, the company agreement can set the additional payment for overtime. In this case, the additional payment must not be less than 10%, but it may be lower than the rate set by the sectoral collective agreement. . . .