This Paper analyses the effect of family policies on mothers employment around the birth of the first child in the 1980s and the 1990s. In order to examine the policy effect, I present more detail on and compare family policies in Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Japan as these countries provide us with policies that significantly differ in extent and thus (potential) effect. Of these five countries, only Sweden has had equal roles for fathers and mothers as the prime guiding principle for its family policies since the 1970s. More recent policy changes have moved Britain, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan in this direction, but the emphasis differed across these countries. The aim of this Paper is to evaluate the effect of specifically designed family policies on employment of mothers around their first childbirth. I use household panel data sets from Britain (BHPS, 1991-1998), Germany (GSOEP, 1984-1998), The Netherlands (OSA, 1985-1998), Sweden (HUS, 1984-1998) and Japan (JPSC, 1993-1997). First, I graphically illustrate monthly employment status around childbirth of women who gave birth to the first child in the 1980s and 1990s (yearly employment status is analysed for Japan). Then, I proceed by estimating multinomial logit models for the employment choice for the five years after the first childbirth. I distinguish between the following three choices: full-time employment, part-time employment and not being employed. The results of the econometric analyses are in line with the (actual) development in the 1980s and the 1990s of the policy environment in each of these five countries. As such, estimation results lend support to the hypothesis that specifically designed family policies succeed in affecting decisions on work of first-time mothers.