This article analyses the interplay of public and occupational work‒family policies in institutionally different countries (Austria, Denmark, Italy and United Kingdom). Most of the existing studies do not analyse public and occupational family policy in conjunction, although this is necessary for a comprehensive understanding of family policy, and therefore the article adds knowledge on work‒family policy and the interplay of public and occupational based approaches. Based on a diverse case selection strategy and using comparative information from European statistics, surveys and reports, the crowding-out hypothesis is excluded, but no one consistent relationship is found for all countries. Instead, the article adds to existing knowledge that the country-specific public‒private mix depends on the institutional context (e.g. public family policy) and industrial relations.