Flexibility in how you work is important for both you and your clients. Upwork Payroll helps give you more flexibility by making it simple for you to work as an employee for a client, rather than as a freelancer.

A client may ask you to work for them as an employee instead of an independent contractor for a variety of reasons, including the need for a set working schedule and a long-term relationship. If you decide to accept a project where you are classified as an employee, we will refer you to a third-party staffing agency through the Upwork Payroll solution, and that vendor will be your employer of record.

As with other clients you work with on Upwork, you will agree upon a rate before the contract starts, and you will still 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.
  • The staffing agency will relay any necessary communication about all contractual matters relating to your employment.
  • You may receive additional benefits from being an Upwork Payroll employee, depending on the employer, contract, and other factors.

How to get started with the staffing agency

After you accept the offer, 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.


Frequently Asked Questions

When will I get paid on Upwork Payroll?

For the Upwork Payroll service, we partner with employment providers in the local jurisdiction where you live. 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, pay is typically weekly, but in some countries monthly or another schedule is customary. Payroll payments are made consistent with the employer's payroll calendar, which will be provided to you, 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 your onboarding.

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