To help protect both you and your clients, we pause contracts in certain situations.

For example, if there is a problem with your client’s Upwork account or billing method, we’ll pause your contract with them. While the contract is paused, you won’t be able to bill that client and should stop any work on the project until the contract is resumed. We’ll let you know if we have paused one of your client’s contracts, and we’ll also let you know when we reactivate the contract. We can’t share the specifics regarding why the contract was paused, due to privacy concerns.

If your contract is paused

  • Stop working on the contract immediately — Any work completed during a contract pause is not covered by Upwork’s Payment Protection programs. For hourly contracts, don’t worry, hours that you billed prior to the contract being paused are still eligible for payment protection.
  • Contact your client — You can still message your client on Upwork when contracts are paused. We recommend that you get in touch with your client as soon as possible to find out when they expect the contract to resume. If you don’t get a response from your client, use the Get Support button (in the bottom-right corner of this page) to contact us and ask us to reach out to the client on your behalf.

Pro Tip

Even though contacting your client is a good idea for your relationship with the client and for your planning, don’t resume working on the contract until you receive a notification from Upwork that the contract is reactivated.


If your client asks you to continue working on a paused contract and then offers to pay you outside of Upwork, in most cases you should decline and report it to us by using the Get Support button in the bottom-right corner of this page. Getting paid outside of Upwork is called circumvention, which significantly increases the risk of fraud and is a violation of the Upwork Terms of Service. Please note that this does not apply if you and your client have agreed to leave Upwork and your client has paid the appropriate conversion fee to do so, or if the circumvention rules don’t apply to you and your client. Learn more about circumvention rules here.

Client paused the contract with you

Clients can also pause contracts any time they want to put work on hold. They may need to do this for many reasons. This pause prevents you from logging time on the contract until the client is ready to start again. In most cases, they’ll message you to explain why they paused the contract and when they plan to restart it. If you don’t hear from the client, you can contact them to ask why they paused the contract and when they plan to restart.

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