This article examines the level of work–family conflict of self-employed persons, a changing but neglected group in work–life research, compared to employees in Europe. Differences between the two groups are explained by looking at job demands and resources. The inclusion of work–family state support makes it possible to examine differences between countries. Multilevel analysis has been applied to data from the European Social Survey (ESS 2010). The results show that job demands and resources operate differently for employees and the self-employed. The relationship between employment type and WFC is mediated mainly by job demands such as working hours, working at short notice, job insecurity and supervisory work. The results also reveal variation across countries that cannot be explained by state support, signalling the need for a more complete understanding of WFC from a cross-national perspective.