International Hiring with Upwork Payroll

Upwork Payroll services can be utilized for international hiring. Similar to other payroll assignments, if you determine the relationship is best classified as an employee (rather than an independent contractor), we offer Upwork Payroll service through a trusted, third-party staffing agency. In such cases, the freelancer will become an employee of a staffing vendor and assigned to you for the purposes of the project.

Employee rights and contractual obligations can differ from country to country. The five steps below outline the Upwork Payroll offering for international hires.

Step 1: Request pricing

Once you have found a suitable candidate for your project, the first step is to submit your proposed hourly rate (and currency), the estimated number of weekly hours and contract duration, as well as the title and description of work, to an Upwork Payroll Specialist by email.

Step 2: Review pricing

The Upwork Payroll Specialist will aim to provide you with the estimated cost breakdown, payment framework, and country-specific statutory financial obligations from the staffing provider within 48 hours of your request.

Step 3: Pricing Approval

Once you have reviewed the pricing and engagement details you can provide your approval via an electronic signature. Within 24 hours of receiving your approval, an Upwork Payroll Specialist will reach out to you to collect the details of the assignment, and communicate these to the staffing provider.

Step 4: Onboarding

After final approval has been received from you, the staffing provider will contact the employee to begin the onboarding process. This process will include the signing of an employee agreement that outlines the business needs as well as the legislated employment practices for the locale that will govern the employment relationship. Additional steps required by law or by the employer, such as a background check may also be included.

International onboarding typically takes 3-4 weeks (from quote signature to start date) but can move quicker. An Upwork Payroll Specialist will keep you up to date with the progress throughout the process.

Step 5: Commence working

Once onboarding is complete, a contract will be created on the Upwork platform for billing purposes, and the employee can commence work from the agreed start date. The employer will provide the employee with instructions on logging their time and getting paid. You can then seamlessly communicate through the Upwork platform.

Important: Work must not begin until the employee completes onboarding with their employer (the third-party staffing provider). Any work that happens before the onboarding process is complete will be your company’s responsibility.

Timekeeping will occur between the employee and their employer; the contract on Upwork will be “paused” to prevent duplicate reporting.

Are employees eligible for overtime payments?

The eligibility for overtime payments are country dependent, the specific rules governing overtime payments will be communicated to you by the Upwork Payroll Specialist during step 2 outlined above.

What kind of work can Upwork Payroll be used for?

Upwork Payroll is generally available for administrative and professional level environments such as, clerical, legal, technology, video production, etc. It is not available for work involving manual labor, heavy equipment, or driving. Hourly and salaried assignments are available through Upwork Payroll, fixed-price contracts are not supported through this service.

How can I monitor the hours worked by the employee?

You can view the hours worked and payments from your Upwork account by going to Reports > Transactions. Every week, you’ll see a line item in the Transactions report for each employee from the staffing provider that will include the employee’s time plus any adjustments for costs required by law, such as overtime pay, and sick time.

Who do I reach out to if I have concerns with the employee or the contract?

Upwork is here to help you resolve issues. Please contact Upwork immediately at upworkpayroll@upwork.com if:

  • You’re concerned with the employees' work performance, so we can help facilitate a resolution between you and the employer.
  • The employee alerts you (or you become aware of) of a need for a leave of absence or disability accommodation so we can be a conduit of a compliant reasonable accommodation process as directed by the employer.
How do I end an Upwork Payroll contract?

All contractual requests including ending or modifying a contract should be emailed to upworkpayroll@upwork.com. This allows the staffing provider to comply with any termination requirements, such as country-specific laws governing final paychecks or termination paperwork. The notice period for assignments can vary from country to country and will be communicated prior to starting the contract.

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