What is "discontinuous leave" under the shared parental leave regime?

An employee who is eligible for shared parental leave can request to take discontinuous periods of leave, ie they can take a period of shared parental leave, then return to work, then take a further period of shared parental leave.

Shared parental leave must be taken in blocks of at least one week. All leave must be taken before the child's first birthday, or before the first anniversary of the adoption placement.

When an employee gives the employer a period of leave notice, they can request either a single block of leave or discontinuous periods of leave. If the employee requests discontinuous leave, the employer can refuse the request and require the employee to withdraw the request or take the leave in a continuous block. However, if an employee requests a continuous period of leave, the employer must agree to it.

Employees can submit up to three separate leave notices. Therefore, an employee can take three separate blocks of leave, provided that they give their employer a separate notice of each period of leave, at least eight weeks before it starts.