I'm working with an assistant. I need to forward her email to her Gmail. Also from time to time, I need to pay for the services of people my assistant recommends outside of UpWork. Every time one of these two come up I run the risk of being punished by UpWork. Is there a fee I can pay or a way I can let UpWork know that I'm still going to do business at UpWork (it's valuable to me) but sometimes I need to do things outside of UpWork. I really like UpWork and don't want to get banned or something
You can use email outside of Upwork. There is NO restriction regarding communication with your freelancer.
You can not pay outside of Upwork unless you want to opt out which costs a minimum of $ 2500
Just pay the freelancer whatever through Upwork factoring in the 10% (if more than $ 500 has been paid) fee
re: "but sometimes I need to do things outside of UpWork. I really like UpWork and don't want to get banned or something"
You can do things outside of Upwork.
This is not a complicated issue.
If you meet a freelancer and hire them through Upwork, then you pay them exclusively through Upwork.
But that does not mean that EVERYBODY who works on your project needs to be hired through Upwork.
For example, you have a blog about cakes.
You hire local bakers to create fancy cakes. You do NOT use Upwork to find those bakers. You do NOT need to hire them through Upwork. If you don't hire them through Upwork, then you don't pay them through Upwork.
You hire a blog writer to write about the cakes. The writer is hired through Upwork. All payments to the writer go through Upwork.
One day, the writer says she wants to bake a cake of her own. You agree. She purchases $25 in supplies. She asks you to reimburse her. You reimburse her through Upwork. Only. (There is a specific client-side tool for doing that.) You are not allowed to pay her outside of Upwork.