To foster fairness, reward loyalty, and encourage clients to continue to use Upwork for their business needs, you are protected from paying for hours billed that are not clearly related to your project. In turn, freelancers are protected from non-payment when certain eligibility criteria are met.

Protection for Clients

To qualify for Upwork Hourly Protection, you must have:

You must also dispute hours within the dispute period. You are then protected from the obligation to pay for a freelancer's hours if they are not clearly documented in the Work Diary and related to your stated contract requirements or instructions.

Protection for Freelancers

To qualify for Upwork Hourly Protection, your freelancers must:

  • Log time using the Upwork Desktop App
  • Be visibly working on contract-related activity in the Work Diary
  • Annotate the Work Diary with memos that adequately describe the activity performed
  • Maintain adequate and fair activity levels
  • Stay within the contract's weekly limit (excess hours invoiced don't qualify)
  • Maintain their account in good standing with regard to Upwork Terms of Service

Determining Who is Protected

In the following cases, your freelancer does not qualify for protection, and therefore you, the client do qualify for protection:

  • Time segments in the Work Diary that don't meet all of the freelancer qualification criteria above. For example, we exclude segments that are:
    • Added manually
    • Idle or empty
    • Over the weekly limit
    • Showing the freelancer engaged in non-work-related activity
    • Missing memos or have inadequately described memos
  • Freelancers or contracts in violation of the Upwork Terms of Service
  • Instances in which the freelancer is aware of, or complicit in, another user's violation of the Upwork Terms of Service
  • Instances in which there is any involvement in fraudulent activities or abuse of the Upwork Hourly Protection program
  • Freelancers enrolled in Upwork Payroll

Please note that to be eligible you must dispute hours invoiced within the applicable dispute period. Upwork Hourly Protection is subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the Upwork Terms of Service and Hourly Escrow Instructions.

Log in to get personalized help.