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Rules on adding manual time

  1. Hi! Can a contractor add manual time without the client knowing it? Or should all manual time added have the permission of the client?

Hi Clarissa,


If you would like to manually add time, you will need to discuss it with your client before doing so. Please note that all the time you log is automatically invoiced to your client. This will result in charges that the client is unaware of. It is always best to discuss with your client to avoid any misunderstandings. 

~ Joanne
Community Member

re: "Can a contractor add manual time without the client knowing it? Or should all manual time added have the permission of the client?"


Every contract is set up with a checkbox that allows a client to ALLOW manual time... or NOT allow manual time.


When a client sets up the contract, that is when she gives permission to the freelancer to add manual time.


A client can subsequently CHANGE this setting WHENEVER SHE WANTS to.


A freelancer does NOT NEED TO ask for permission outside of this.


A wise freelancer knows that a client CAN refuse to pay for ANY MANUAL TIME.

So a wise freelancer uses manual time as little as possible.

Even if the contract allows to manually add time, isn't it proper or ethical to ask permission first specially when the client is not aware that the contractor has been doing it for a long time? I know it's the client's negligence but I think some contractors are taking advantage of this set up. 

I think it is ALWAYS ethical and professional for a freelancer to communicate with a client.


I believe that Upwork clients should be able to expect that freelancers will log their time using the desktop time-tracker unless their are extraordinary reasons for not doing so.


I personally do NOT notify clients when I use manual time. Why? Because I use manual time so rarely. If I work for 20 hours one week, and if I log 10 or 20 minutes of that time manually then I don't communicate about that with the client.


If any freelancer was going to log a lot of time manually I would hope that such a freelancer would communicate that fact to the client ahead of time. That would indeed be the right thing to do.


But that type of situation doesn't apply to me, so I haven't really given it a lot of thought.


If any freelancer decided to log a lot of manual time with a client who he hasn't worked with extensively and doesn't know well, such a freelancer is taking a big risk. Because a knowledgeable client could dispute those manual hours and NOT pay the freelancer. If a client felt that she was wronged by a misbehaving or dishonest freelancer, the client could very well feel justified in disputing such a freelancer's hours.

Thank you, Preston. Sadly, some dishonest contractors take advantage of  clients who don't look into the work diaries. I wish there was a way for Upwork to notify clients when a contractor is doing this.

Manual time can only be logged if the client has enabled it on the contract. Responsible FLs and clients will be sure to discuss the parameters, i.e. how many hours/week are anticipated. Beyond vetting the client as an honest professional, the FL has zero  protection on manual hours. The client has five days after the work week closes to examine the work diary and the quality of the work produced and if they dispute any manual hours, the FL doesn't get paid for those hours. If the client cannot be bothered to check the work diary and work quality, that's too bad.

Phyllis G wrote:

Manual time can only be logged if the client has enabled it on the contract. 

Actually, it can be logged if the client has not disabled it, as it is enabled by default.

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