Freelancer Policies

1. Identity and freelancer profile

The Upwork community is made up of independent professionals, agencies and companies from around the globe. To maintain a high-quality workplace for all Upwork Users, identity information associated with an Upwork User Account must be real and verifiable.

  • Freelancer profiles must accurately represent the freelancer’s experience, skills, and personal information.
  • Profile photos should be clear and appropriate for a professional, global community. Logo, clip art, group pictures, or heavily digitally manipulated pictures are prohibited.
  • One account per user. Accounts should not be shared or duplicated in any way.
  • Attempting to mislead by falsely implying a relationship with Upwork or another company is not allowed.
  • Sharing contact information such as email, phone number, or Skype ID in profile is not allowed
  • Any offer of services that is spammy in nature is prohibited.

2. Applications

Successful proposals are complete, accurate, and professional. Applications should be sent only to projects for which a freelancer has the skills and ability to complete successfully. As a best practice, they should be written in English and include a cover letter created specifically for the project—“cut-and-paste” letters with little or no relevance are considered spam.

The following should not be included in an application:

  • Any offer of services for the sole purpose of building good feedback.
  • Any offer of illegal activity or services that would violate the intellectual property rights, copyrights or terms of service of another service, product or website.
  • Content that is offensive or contains false or defamatory remarks.

3. Upwork Hourly Payment Protection

Upwork Hourly Payment Protection is our promise that an hour worked is an hour paid, and an hour paid is an hour worked. It’s our way of showing respect for the work getting done on Upwork.

(Please note that Upwork Hourly Payment Protection does not apply to fixed-price projects or manual time. For more details and other limitations, see section 6.10 of the Upwork User Agreement.)

4. Disputes

Disagreements occasionally arise in every workplace, both online and off. On Upwork, clients have the right to dispute any hours worked for hourly contracts.

The most common reasons for disputes include:

  • Manual time billed without approval
  • Low activity levels or insufficient work memos as tracked by the Upwork Time Tracker
  • Screenshot reflects activity not associated with the work being billed

Please take a minute to familiarize yourself with our official dispute process.

5. Payments

Soliciting or processing payment outside of Upwork is prohibited for the safety and security of all Upworkers. If a client solicits work to be done and paid for outside of the Upwork platform, please report them immediately.

For more information, please see Section 7 of the Upwork User Agreement.

6. Feedback

Feedback that is honest and objective contributes to a vibrant and productive marketplace. The best feedback focuses on the facts, while providing helpful information to both the recipient and the community as a whole.

We do not monitor, censor, or investigate feedback. However, on very rare occasions, we may delete feedback found to violate our Terms of Service. Attempts to falsify feedback, manipulate, or coerce another user by threatening negative feedback are strictly prohibited, as is any offer to sell or buy services in exchange for positive feedback.

Feedback containing the following types of content may be removed:

  • Spam, advertising or other commercial content
  • Content that endorses illegal activity
  • Content that personally identifies another user
  • Political, religious, or social commentary rather than a genuine comment regarding the work experience
  • Profane, vulgar, obscene, slanderous, libelous, threatening or discriminatory language, or adult material

7. Tracking time on Upwork

For hourly contracts, freelancers can track their time using the Team App. This allows them to accurately log hours which are in turn covered by the Hourly Payment Protection. All logged time must be:

  • Honest and accurate
  • Completed by the engaged individual
  • Related to the completion of that contract

8. Agency Policies

Agencies represent a set of workers who provide services on Upwork as employees or subcontractors of the Agency. Agencies are responsible for the actions of all their members.

Unless otherwise agreed between the parties an agency does not own a freelancer’s profile and cannot restrict a freelancer’s departure or future use of his or her profile on Upwork. Feedback and work histories on Upwork are retained by both the freelancer and agency upon a freelancer’s departure.

All agency members must act in accordance with Upwork Terms of Service in connection with their use of the Site. Violations of the Terms of Service by any agency member can result in suspension of the agency's account:

  • All agency members must comply with the Terms of Service.
  • An agency must use the Upwork platform when working with any client found through Upwork.
  • Every person working on behalf of an agency must have their own account and profile. These profiles must be associated with their agency on Upwork. Sharing accounts is not permitted.
  • If a freelancer is no longer working for an agency, the agency may not use the freelancer's profile in any way and may not restrict the freelancer’s use of their own profile.
  • Agencies cannot advertise on Upwork to recruit freelancers.
  • Agency profiles may not advertise products or services outside or beyond the scope of the Upwork workplace.
  • Agency owners should not apply on behalf of agency members unable, unwilling, or unavailable to do the work.
  • Agency owners may interview on behalf of their agency regardless of which agency member will perform the work; however, clients must be informed of the agency relationship.
  • Agency owners must specifically state who will be working on the project, unless the person will be performing work on a fixed-price contract and will not have any client contact. Should there be a change, the client should be informed and approve prior to the change.