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What is Circumvention Table Community Resource

Circumvention occurs when a client and talent meet on Upwork but choose to conduct their relationship outside of Upwork by sending payment through another means outside the platform. Circumvention is a violation of Upwork’s Terms of Service.


Here are some potential scenarios that you may encounter and guidance on whether it is circumvention, another violation, or not an issue. Note that sometimes Enterprise clients work a bit differently, so keep that in mind. 



Scenario for Talent

Is this a violation? 

You have a great first contract with a client, and now they ask you to work for them again. But this time, it is off of Upwork.


The client asks you to do a different job off Upwork (accounting job vs. programming job). 

Yes, this is circumvention if your relationship is less than two years old (when first identified through Upwork). 

Once a relationship has started on Upwork, it must be maintained on the platform for a minimum of two years.

Politely remind them that your relationship needs to stay on Upwork.

A prospective client wants a video interview on Google Hangouts.

Yes, this is a pre-contract communication violation. Upwork requires that all pre-hire contact happens through the Upwork platform.

Respectfully decline and suggest to connect through Upwork’s call or Zoom features. 

The client wants to hire you and put you on their payroll system. 

Yes, this is circumvention - Upwork requires relationships started on Upwork to be maintained on Upwork. If the client needs to hire you directly, suggest Upwork Payroll or the Conversion Fee.

The client sends you a link and asks you to apply through their own hiring system.

Yes, this is a contact information violation - Upwork requires that all pre-hire contact happens through the Upwork platform.

Do not follow the link or complete the process there. Report the client to Upwork’s Trust & Safety Team.

The client pays the Conversion Fee to take the relationship off of Upwork.

No, any contact after the conversion fee is paid is not circumvention - customers who wish to work together directly before the two-year mark may pay a conversion fee to Upwork and are then free to work together outside the platform.

Upwork will notify you if the fee has been paid. 


Scenario for Client


Is this a violation? 

Prospective talent provides a personal email as part of their proposal and suggests you connect directly.

Yes, this is a contact information violation. Upwork requires that all pre-hire contact happens through the Upwork platform. 

Do not use the email address and only communicate through Upwork. 

Talent reaches out to you via LinkedIn, saying they saw your job on Upwork.

Yes, this is an unsolicited contact violation - Upwork prohibits using the information found on Upwork to connect with another customer outside of the platform.

Kindly suggest that you continue the conversation through Upwork and report the independent professional to Upwork’s Trust & Safety team.

Talent asks you to go off the platform after maintaining a relationship for two years within Upwork.

No, this is not circumvention - customers may work together directly after two years from when they first connected through Upwork.

If you are unsure of your relationship’s timeline, reach out to conversionfee@upwork.com to check for you. 

You initially met the independent professional outside of Upwork, and you brought the relationship onto the platform. You later decide to go back off of the platform. 

No, this is not circumvention - customers who knew each other before coming to Upwork are free to work directly at any time.

If this applies to you, you should reach out to conversionfee@upwork.com to let us know this is happening so that they may mark your account, to avoid suspension for circumvention should it be brought up for review. 

If you have any questions on circumvention, please do not hesitate to contact the support team.

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