Clients can file a dispute if they do not agree with the hours that you invoiced for the previous week while working on their project. If your client files an hourly dispute, we will pause your contract and set the contract’s weekly limit to zero. If you wish to resume working on the contract following the outcome of the dispute, please discuss resuming the contract with your client.

You can choose to reject or accept the dispute, but it is important that you respond. If you do not respond within 3 business days, we will refund your client for all of the disputed hours.

To respond to and review your dispute

  1. Go to My Jobs › All Contracts (select the Include closed contracts checkbox, if necessary)
  2. Find the job with the dispute and selectclick its title
  3. Choose REVIEW
  4. Fill out the form and submit

If you reject the dispute

  • We will review your Work Diary to evaluate the disputed hours against the criteria of Upwork Hourly Protection within four business days.
  • If all disputed hours are found to meet the criteria of Upwork Hourly Protection, we will pay you according to the usual weekly billing cycle.
  • If any of the disputed hours do not meet the criteria of Upwork Hourly Protection, we will refund the hours that are non-compliant to the client.

If you accept the dispute

  • We refund all of your disputed hours to your client.

Note: If your client cancels the dispute, we will pay you the disputed hours according to the usual weekly billing cycle.

For Agencies

If you’re in an agency and your client files a dispute against you, we will notify both you and your agency manager. You can both respond to the dispute. Regardless of who responds first, we will require the agency manager to participate in the consultation with an Upwork dispute specialist. Excessive disputes against an agency's freelancers may result in suspension of the agency as a whole.


You can help protect yourself from disputes by making sure that the hours you document are accurate and reflect work for the correct client. Be sure to review your hours each week at the end of the work week, so that you can correct any errors before we bill your client.


The hourly dispute process only pertains to hourly contracts, and reviewing a freelancer’s Work Diary is the primary criteria for understanding whether time worked qualifies for Upwork Hourly Protection. However, Upwork retains the right to withhold payment on any contract if a user is in violation of the Upwork Terms of Service.

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