When you have an hourly contract, the freelancer enters the time that they work on your project, and you can review it at the end of every week. We will release payment to the freelancer weekly.

The billing period runs from Monday through Sunday, UTC time. After the weekly billing period ends, the freelancer has until noon Monday UTC to review their hours.

After that, we’ll email you and you’ll have through the end of day Thursday UTC to review what the freelancer logged.

If the hours look good, no action is needed. We’ll release the payment to the freelancer based on the regular payment schedule.

If something looks off, you can discuss that with the freelancer (we recommend this first, as most issues can be resolved quickly) or dispute the hours.

Entering time


Only freelancers can enter time. You cannot enter or edit time for freelancers.

You can set up activity codes for freelancers to select when entering time, to help you track the time worked on specific activities. Freelancers can select an activity from the options you’ve given them, and they can also enter memos to give you more details about what they are working on in a time segment. Learn more about activity codes.

Freelancers who are working on Enterprise contracts can enter time two ways:

Time Tracker

The Time Tracker feature is part of our desktop app and lets freelancers log in and out when they begin and end work. It tracks keystrokes, mouse clicks, and scroll actions and takes several screenshots per hour.

Time Tracker turns off automatically if there is a period of no activity. This prevents time from logging if the freelancer forgets to log out. Time Tracker does not track what Freelancers click, what they type, applications they use, or webcam footage.

This feature provides convenience for the freelancer and reassurance for you that they were working on your project during the time they logged. You can see their hours and view their work activity and screenshots in their Work Diary in the Timesheet tab of your contract’s workroom.

Manual

With manual time, freelancers can enter time that they worked without having to use the Time Tracker feature. Manual time is automatically enabled on Enterprise contracts, and it cannot be disabled on Enterprise Compliance accounts.

Since Time Tracker automatically turns off if there is no mouse or keyboard activity, manual entry is necessary for work that may not generate ongoing computer activity, such as call-related activities, hand-drawn sketches, or online meetings.

Freelancers can enter manual time at any time throughout the weekly billing period, but they must enter their time before the billing period ends.

Reviewing time


You can view the freelancer’s time by looking at the freelancer’s timesheet and Work Diary, which is a visual record of their time and work:

  1. Go to Jobs > All Contracts
  2. Select the contract you want to view
  3. Choose the Timesheet tab

You’ll see a summary of the freelancer’s time entered in the Timesheet tab. You can view their Work Diary, which displays screenshots and work activity during the time they were logged into the Time Tracker, and you can customize the dates that you want to view.

You can only view the freelancer’s time and work — you cannot add, delete, or edit the time that the freelancer entered. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the freelancer.

You can also dispute time if you believe the freelancer logged hours that were not related to your job.

Missing time


There may be times when a freelancer needs to be paid for time that was not captured in their Work Diary. This could happen for several reasons, including:

  • An interruption in the freelancer’s internet connection interfered with hours loading from the Time Tracker. To limit this, Time Tracker is designed to store hours in a cache and upload them to Upwork when the internet becomes available, but technical difficulties can happen
  • The freelancer forgot to log in or to manually enter some of the hours that they worked
  • The freelancer thought Time Tracker was on, but because they were doing work that was not generating computer activity, Time Tracker shut off and did not log time
  • The freelancer needed to enter manual time, and someone from your company has disabled manual time entry on the contract.

If manual time has been disabled and you need to re-enable it, go to Jobs › All Contracts and select your contract. In the Details of your contract workroom, choose Manual Time.

If you need to pay a freelancer for time that was not logged, you can pay them using a bonus.

Note:

You cannot disable manual time on an Enterprise Compliance contract.

Paying with a bonus


You can choose to add a manual payment to an hourly contract, separate from regular hours billed, by adding a bonus.

You can use a bonus payment to pay for time that was missing from a freelancer’s timesheet, or you may choose to give a bonus for other reasons, such as excellent work, expenses, or extra time.

All bonuses are processed the same way and are subject to a five-day security period and freelancer service fee on the freelancer's end.

Note:

If you have an Enterprise Compliance account and want to issue a bonus, please notify your Enterprise team if the bonus exceeds your original budget or is otherwise tied to a scope of work that was not included in the original contract offer.

To add a bonus:

  1. Go to Jobs › All Contracts to locate the freelancer or agency
  2. Select Give bonus from the (...) options menu
  3. Fill out the form. You can add a private note or details if you want, and select Make Payment to send the bonus

For your convenience, the Give bonus option is also available from the options menu in your contract’s workroom.

Give a bonus from the options menu

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add or edit hours in the freelancer’s timesheet or Work Diary?

No, you can only view the freelancer’s time. You cannot add, delete, or edit their time.

Am I required to pay for hours that the freelancer entered manually?

If you believe that the freelancer's hours are incorrect, you can dispute the hours.

What should I do if a freelancer enters hours that are not related to my job?

If a freelancer logs hours not related to your project you can file a dispute for the previous week's hours.

When will a freelancer receive the bonus I gave them?

Bonuses are processed a little differently than hourly payments. You can pay a bonus at any time during the week, and after a 5-day security period, we will release the payment to the freelancer.

Are fees the same for my freelancer for bonus payments?

Yes. Freelancers pay the same freelancer service fee percentage for any payments, including bonuses.

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