When your freelancer submits a milestone for your approval, you have 14 days to review. If you do not take action, that is considered approval and funds will be automatically released to your freelancer.


Milestones outline the work to be completed by your freelancer and, in return, what you will pay your freelancer. Once your freelancer submits work, you’ll need to review it and make a decision to accept the work or request changes.

You and your freelancer should decide how you'd like files or other deliverables sent to you. Files can be shared using your contract’s Messages room (recommended) or any third-party solution you prefer.

The due date of a milestone cannot be changed. However, you and your freelancer can agree to change the due date. Upwork does not impose any negative consequences for working beyond a milestone due date.

Please note: Per our escrow instructions, you may only fund one milestone at a time. Funds must be released on the current milestone before the next one can be activated and funded. You cannot change the order of active milestones, however, you can choose to release a partial payment. Any remaining funds can be used to fund the next milestone, or you can request an escrow refund the remaining amount.

To review a milestone

Go to My Jobs, locate the contract and click Review & Pay.

 

You have a number of options when reviewing a milestone, choose an option below for instructions.

Approve and release payment

If you are completely satisfied with the work submitted for a milestone, you should approve the work and release the milestone payment to your freelancer.

To approve a milestone

  1. Select the contract from Jobs > My Jobs and click Review & Pay
  2. Choose Approve & Pay
  3. Click Send Payment
  4. End the contract if the work is done or keep it open to continue

Best practice: Release funds only when the work submitted is complete and satisfactory. When you release funds from escrow (including by not responding for 14 days), you are agreeing to pay the freelancer for their work. If you release funds from escrow before work is submitted, or before you are satisfied with it, you cannot dispute the payment through Upwork and may not be able to recover the funds later. If you aren’t satisfied with the work, request changes instead of approving the milestone.

Release more than the full amount

To pay more than your escrow deposit for extra work, add a "bonus" when you approve a milestone. Bonuses are additional payments and are not paid out of your existing escrow balance.

To approve a milestone and a bonus

  1. Select the contract from Jobs > My Jobs and click Review & Pay
  2. Choose Approve & Pay
  3. Select the 'Add a bonus' checkbox and enter an amount
  4. Click Send Payment

Best practice: Release funds only when the work submitted is complete and satisfactory. When you release funds from escrow (including by not responding for 14 days), you are agreeing to pay the freelancer for their work. If you release funds from escrow before work is submitted, or before you are satisfied with it, you cannot dispute the payment through Upwork and may not be able to recover the funds later. If you aren’t satisfied with the work, request changes instead of approving the milestone.

Release less than the full amount

To release a partial milestone amount

  1. Select the contract from Jobs > My Jobs and click Review & Pay
  2. Choose Approve & Pay
  3. Click the pencil icon 
  4. Enter the amount to be released
  5. Click Send Payment

In this example, $420.00 has been funded for this milestone, but only $400.00 is released. The remaining $20.00 in escrow can be used to fund the next milestone. If you and your freelancer are also ending the contract, you’ll need to request an escrow refund for the remainder.

Request changes

If the submission is incomplete or does not meet the requirements of the milestone you can ask the freelancer to update the work and resubmit.

To request changes to work submitted for a milestone

  1. Select the contract from Jobs > My Jobs and click Review & Pay
  2. Click the Request Changes button
  3. Write a message describing the changes needed and click Send Change Request

If the work is not going as planned and you wish to end the contract without additional payment, you have the ability to cancel the contract and request an escrow refund. Your freelancer will then have seven days to respond to the request. If they approve the refund or fail to respond within the seven days, the money in escrow will be returned to you.

Note: Your freelancer may file an escrow dispute if you continue to refuse to release funds for a completed milestone. If you do not respond to the dispute in seven days, funds will be released to freelancer.

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