Upwork Payroll

The Benefits of Employment Combined with the Perks of Upwork

Email us to find out how Upwork Payroll can get you
the benefits you deserve! payroll@upwork.com
  • Avoid the hassle of managing quarterly self-employment taxes
  • Enjoy peace of mind knowing you can track your hours worked via the Upwork Work Diary
  • Enroll in ACA-compliant healthcare plans featuring employer contributions to insurance premiums (available for eligible employees)

Without increasing overall costs!

New to Upwork?

The upside of Upwork Payroll is available to you.

Workers who join Upwork Payroll enjoy the convenience of regular payroll plus access to health care plans, as well as payment protection and other features of working through Upwork.

Join Upwork Payroll and:

  • Enjoy Guaranteed Payment for All Hours Worked — Upwork Work Diary helps you accurately track your hours to ensure that you are paid for all hours worked.
  • Invoice Easily — Avoid the hassle of creating invoices and timesheets. Upwork’s proven system manages billing and payment for you.
  • Control Your Income — Set your own hourly rate based on your skills, experience and reputation.

Assume that your client pays $25 per hour:

staffing agency
W-2 through
Upwork Payroll
Client pays $25 /hr $25 /hr
Taxes and fees $7 (26%) $5 (20%)
Worker gets $18.48 $20

Existing Upwork contractor?

Get more value for the same pay.
The upside of Upwork Payroll is available to you.

We designed Upwork Payroll so that transitioning to a W-2 employee can cost you and your clients nothing -- enrolling in Upwork Payroll should not affect your ability to compete for work!

Assume that your contractor earns $25 per hour:

through Upwork
W-2 with
Upwork Payroll
Client pays $25 /hr $25 /hr
Taxes and fees $5
10% Upwork fee and
~10% self-employment tax
20% fee includes
payroll taxes
Worker gets ~ $20 $20


  • What are the advantages of working via Upwork Payroll?

    Upwork Payroll offers several benefits, including:

    • Simplified Taxes: For every hour you work through Upwork Payroll, you avoid the need to pay self-employment taxes or estimated quarterly tax payments. Because you are an employee of Upwork’s staffing firm partner, payroll taxes are deducted from your take-home pay and submitted on your behalf.
    • Group Health Insurance Benefits: Upwork Payroll employees who meet eligibility requirements (see below) are eligible to enroll in one or more ACA-compliant, minimum-value health care plans featuring an employer contribution to monthly premiums. Additional information is available upon request from Upwork’s staffing firm partner.
  • Who determines whether I work as an independent contractor or through Upwork Payroll?

    You and your client should determine together the appropriate working relationship for you. A client may sometimes decide that, because of the nature of your work, they must hire you via Upwork Payroll to ensure compliance with worker classification requirements. It then becomes your decision whether Upwork Payroll is right for you, and whether to continue working with the client if the employment classification is required. Please also keep in mind that workers without independent businesses are only permitted to use Upwork through Upwork Payroll, or as an employee and team member of another registered agency.

  • Will Upwork Payroll help me find work?

    No - you are still responsible for finding your own work on Upwork. Upwork Payroll is an alternative way to be paid on Upwork, but you still source and select your own assignments. You retain the flexibility to find and accept work as you see fit.

  • How does my compensation change?

    In most cases, the net impact after taxes is minimal since you will no longer owe self-employment taxes. You will notice an impact to your take-home pay, though. As an independent contractor, you pay your taxes directly from your take-home pay on a quarterly basis. As an employee via Upwork Payroll, the payroll and income taxes are accounted for and deducted from your take-home pay each pay period, and you generally should not need to pay any significant additional taxes. You may choose to renegotiate your rate to account for any additional cost to you. Discuss with your clients your classification status to prevent confusion.

  • What are the eligibility requirements for ACA (Affordable Care Act) health insurance plans?

    All U.S. employees who work an average of 30 hours per week or more (“full-time” employees as defined by the ACA) for employers subject to the ACA must be offered coverage by no later than the first day of the fourth month of employment. Part-time employees regularly working less than 30 hours per week are not eligible for coverage.

  • Are there any rate limitations as an hourly employee through Upwork Payroll?

    Yes -- you must earn at least minimum wage for your location if you are managing the assignment through Upwork Payroll. Because you receive 80% of what the client is charged, the client’s charge rate must be at least 25% higher than the minimum wage for your state. For example, if your location’s minimum wage is $8/hour, the client charge rate must be at least $10/hour. To calculate the minimum client charge rate, multiply your location’s minimum wage by 1.25.

  • Why is Upwork Payroll only for workers in the U.S. and Canada?

    Upwork Payroll is designed specifically to meet the requirements of U.S. and Canada employment regulations. In the future, we will be evaluating similar programs in other countries.

  • How do I sign up for Upwork Payroll?

    Workers should sign up for the Upwork Payroll program only at the request of, or with the consent of, their clients since a worker’s classification can have legal and compliance implications for the client. To enroll, the client should contact us at payroll@upwork.com and include their company name and Upwork username in the email.