Some clients on Upwork may choose to classify their freelancer as an employee, instead of an independent contractor. This can be for a variety of reasons, including the need for a set working schedule and a long-term relationship. If you are classified as an employee for such a project, you will be referred to a third-party staffing agency through the Upwork Payroll solution and employed by that vendor.

As with other clients you work with on Upwork, you will agree upon a rate before the contract starts and you will communicate directly with your client on project-related matters.

How Upwork Payroll contracts differ from other Upwork contracts

  • All Upwork Payroll contracts are hourly
  • With Upwork Payroll contracts you will log your time with the staffing agency instead of the Upwork Desktop App
  • Your contract will be marked as "paused" in Upwork to prevent duplicate reporting of hours and payments, this will not affect your Job Success Score
  • Your earnings from Upwork Payroll contracts will reflect in your Upwork profile, however, the number of hours worked will not
  • All contractual matters relating to your employment will be relayed through the staffing agency

How to get started with the staffing agency

The staffing agency will send you a welcome packet containing information on getting set up, logging your hours, benefits where applicable, and getting paid. The agency will be your point of call for any questions you may have before starting, and throughout the duration of your contract.

What you’ll receive through the staffing agency

The staffing agency will provide you with the specific details of your benefits and entitlements. Generally, staffing vendors in the U.S. provide Workers’ compensation insurance, health insurance (in accordance with ACA), and an overtime payment agreement. If you’re based outside the U.S. you’ll enjoy the same legal rights as any other employee in your country.

When will I get paid on Upwork Payroll?

For the Upwork Payroll service, we partner with employment providers in the local jurisdiction where the freelancer lives. The terms of employment vary by the laws of the country and state, by local custom, and by the employment provider's policies.

For those reasons, the timing of payment will depend on the specific employer. In the United States, it is typically weekly, but in some countries monthly or another schedule is customary. Payroll payments are made consistent with the employers payroll calendar, which will be provided to the employee and will give the employer time to calculate and pay payroll.

Typically, there is not any additional hold back period. However, it is important to remember to never start work on an Upwork Payroll engagement until the employer has completed its onboarding.

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