All Things Upwork

Dear oDesk Community,

As head of Operations at oDesk, I’m here to introduce an upcoming policy change that I believe will make oDesk a better workplace for everyone.

Policy update

Beginning November 15, 2014, we will introduce a minimum rate of $3.00 per hour (including the oDesk fee) for all new hourly contracts.

We will continue to honor the hourly rates of contracts formed prior to this date, and clients and freelancers who have previously worked together at less than $3.00 per hour can form new contracts with no minimum requirement.

Why have we made this decision?

Our vision

Our vision is to be the world’s largest, most trusted online workplace, known for top-notch talent and jobs. This means attracting and retaining freelancers and clients who value quality above all else.

Individual freelancers are in the best position to set their hourly rates according to their experience level, skills, and cost of living realities. However, in certain circumstances, we’ve seen that some freelancers feel compelled to lower their rates too far in order to win new work. This can result in sub-optimal work quality and low customer satisfaction. In this context, we believe the new hourly minimum will benefit the entire community by setting an expectation of higher pay for higher quality work. More importantly, we believe this change will, over time, encourage more great freelancers and clients around the world to work on oDesk.

Introducing a minimum rate

While we recognize the complexity of our marketplace—from the large differences in earnings around the world, to the diversity of work done on our platform—we believe $3/hour strikes the right balance between discouraging low-quality work and minimizing disruption to client-freelancer relationships. Though a single minimum rate is an imperfect solution, we feel it’s an important step toward making oDesk a great place to both work and get work done.

Our customers

Today, only 3% of freelancer earnings are below the new minimum. However, we do not take lightly the impact this policy may have on all the clients and freelancers who rely on us for their businesses and careers. In particular, we’re sensitive to the relationships our clients and freelancers have already formed with one another. Thus, this policy will apply only to new client-freelancer relationships formed on or after November 15, 2014. We will continue to honor the hourly rates of contracts formed prior to this date.

For answers to how this policy impacts you, we’ve developed a detailed set of Frequently Asked Questions:

Client FAQ

Freelancer FAQ

If you have any further questions, we encourage you to contact our support team, who are standing by to help.

I, along with the rest of the oDesk leadership team, truly believe our community as a whole will benefit from this transition. I want to thank you, our customers, for your understanding and support. As we look ahead to the future, we’re excited to work for you —and with you—to build a workplace for the ages.

Elizabeth Tse
Senior Vice President, Operations


Elizabeth Tse

Senior Vice President, Operations

  • Initially, used to provide a suitable training wage to new inductees and then move them up in price based on quality. Now training wage is 0.

    Those that make the cut get a job and stay at the $3 mark longer to make up for this insistence on oDesk’s part to mandate a minimum wage.

    The rest lose their jobs and are never paid for their time.