Sometimes, you know the right person for the right job. A BYO (Bring Your Own) Payroll offer allows you to bring your own U.S.-based talent while staying protected as we take care of the worker classification. We offer Upwork Payroll service through a trusted, third-party staffing agency. In such cases, the freelancer will become an employee of a staffing agency and assigned to you for the purposes of the project.

How it works

You get to bring the talent you want, and our staffing partners will ensure compliance with country- or locale-specific laws, including but not limited to, tax and employment laws. The staffing agency will also provide you with human resources support.

When hiring U.S.-based talent, the agency will:

  • Provide an employment agreement
  • Manage payments to the employee
  • Manage compliant time entry
  • Provide workers’ compensation and other legislatively required benefits as required
  • Administer payroll taxes
  • Provide mandated benefits (e.g. ACA compliance) and other voluntary benefit offerings

As the client, you will be in charge of:

  • Asking employees to accurately bill for all time worked Complying with laws that prevent workplace discrimination and harassment
  • Providing a physically safe and harassment-free working environment
  • Allowing the employee to take paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks as required by local laws and authorized by the employer


Official timekeeping will occur between the employee and their employer (the staffing agency); the contract you see on Upwork will be "paused" to prevent duplicate reporting.

Send a U.S. BYO payroll offer for Enterprise Standard

If you’re on an Enterprise Standard account, complete the U.S. BYO form.

Send a U.S. BYO payroll offer for Enterprise Classification

  1. Go to Talent > Bring Your Own Talent
  2. Select Invite a freelancer or Invite an agency
  3. Select Invite your talent to review an offer
  4. Enter the talent’s first and last name, phone number, plus their email address, on the form. Please enter all fields.
  5. Select the worker classification status titled payroll employee when sending the offer

Your onboarding will be initiated within 24 hours.


You must not start work until the employee completes onboarding with their employer (the third-party staffing agency). This process can include background checks, and other steps required by law or by the employer. On average, it takes 3-5 business days to complete the entire onboarding process. Any work that happens before the process is complete will be your company’s responsibility.

Once complete, we will notify you, and the staffing agency will provide the employee with instructions on logging their time and getting paid. You can then seamlessly communicate and pay through Upwork platform.

Talk to your talent

Communicating with your talent is important. If you’re using the BYO Payroll program, tell your talent so they know they need to accept an offer from you. Once you complete the form, we’ll send them an email with their invitation. When they accept, they’ll set up an Upwork profile and complete your company’s onboarding process (if applicable), before accepting their contract.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the person I want to work with lives outside the U.S?
How much does Upwork Payroll cost?

Pricing is a negotiated rate and can be found in your master service agreement (MSA).

Are employees eligible for overtime payments?

Unless you are notified otherwise before work starts, the employee will be eligible for overtime pay. Overtime varies by location, but in most U.S. states, it applies to hours worked above 40 in a week. The staffing agency will provide the specific overtime policy.

How can I monitor the hours worked by the employee?

You can view the hours worked and payments from your Upwork account by going to Reports › Timesheets then select the Payroll button.

Who do I reach out to if I have concerns with the employee or the contract?

We’re here to help you resolve issues. Please contact us immediately at if:

You’re concerned with the employee’s work performance
  • Your freelancer alerts you (or you become aware of) of a need for a leave of absence or disability accommodation
How do I end an Upwork Payroll contract?

All contractual requests including ending or modifying a contract should be emailed to Typically, to end a U.S.-based Upwork Payroll assignment, you’ll need to provide at least 72 hours notice. This allows the staffing agency to comply with any termination requirements, such as state laws governing final paychecks or termination paperwork. The notice period for assignments outside the U.S. can vary from country to country.

Where can I see my Upwork Payroll service fee?

You can see your payroll service fee as a line item on your invoices and in your transaction history.

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