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Re: Any penalty from taking a temporary leave from Upwork due to COVID related primary caregiver dut

Active Member
Nancy B Member Since: Nov 13, 2018
1 of 4

So things have been going well for me in Upwork and there is still work out there for me to take on. My current clients have slowed down a bit so in a world where COVID did not exist I would be advertising myself as available and taking invitations or reaching out to new potential clients for work. However with a 4 year old and an 8 year old at home (daycares and schools closed) and husband with no work flexibility in a very demanding job, I have no choice but to make myself as unavailable in Upwork and not take on any new work. The current clients may eventually slow to zero which woud mean I would be completely inactive soon in Upwork.


As I recall Upwork does not like freelancer inactivity and with work out there in Upwork that I could be doing but I am not, how would Upwork handle this?  Does my success score go down? Do I need to formally notify Upwork of this change?


Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 4

There are no penalties.


You are not required to use the site.


It is like Fandango, a movie site where you can purchase movie tickets.


If you don't purchase any movie tickets this month, there is no penalty there.

If you don't use Upwork this month. Or next month. All for the rest of the year... There are no penalties.


You do not need to notify Upwork.

Just set your "availability" status to "unavailable."


You think Upwork does not like "inactivity?" I would not characterize it quite that way.


As a courtesy to clients, Upwork may not highlight freelancers who are inactive, because those freelancers are not likely be viable people for the clients to send invitations to.

Active Member
Nancy B Member Since: Nov 13, 2018
3 of 4

Hi Preston,

I think you misunderstood the question or maybe took my words too literally. I did not mean a financial penalty and I am aware of how Upwork works. I have marked myself unavailable many times due to being booked up with enough billable work but I have never done that when I wasn't billing.  Of course Upwork favors freelancers that attract more work and take on more work. Clients are better off with freelancers that perform well in these areas, it speaks to their marketability and the job success rate. That makes Upwork a successful platform and that has worked well for me.  I can't say enough good things about Upwork.   I asked specifically about the success score and whether there would be any impact there, this is important to me as I would not want to tarnish that.


Also,  Upwork can see whether an inactive person is billing a lot of time and is inactive for that reason (because they are so busy with work)  of not billing at all and is making themselves inactive. Upwork also suggests jobs to you and if you keep ignoring those and not billing, is that ok?   It's fair to ask if Upwork's model discourages long periods of inactivity (marked unavailable) for people who aren't billing at all or billing very little and ignoring viable jobs. These are all fair questions. Upwork bears some degree of overhead for all of the freelancers and it would not be unreasonable in a non COVID environment for there to be deterrants against  this as Upwork benefits more from freelancers who consistently bill. They certainly incentivise people to bill more so it would not be unreasonable to think there may be deterrants to billing less of long periods of inactivity.


So this may be my reality between now and probably the fall or later and with Upwork being a very important part of my business I really want to understand if there are any downsides to this and if there are is there anything I can do to avoid those given the fact this is a COVID related event. If not, then that's great but I did not want to asssume anything.

Bojan S Moderator Member Since: Mar 9, 2018
4 of 4

Hi Nancy,


Lack of activity on the account doesn't have any negative effect on your account, Job Success score or your reputation. That said, since JSS is calculated for time windows of 6-, 12- and 24 months, it may change as some contracts fall off of the calculation. Just make sure to change your visibility and availability on your profile and consider setting the out-of-office responder in Messages.


Thank you!

~ Bojan