I'm a top rated plus freelancer on Upwork, having been using the platform regularly since 2017. I'm about to start maternity leave as my second baby is due in a few weeks, so I've set my status to unavailable and I won't be working until mid February - and when I come back, I'll be working reduced hours/projects for a while.
This means that my 12 month earnings are going to drop below the top-rated requirement (I believe 12k?) for the time being. Will this mean I lose my top rated status? Is there a way to preserve this so my status isn't affected by having to take time off to have a baby...?
Not sure if Upwork has a system for this, but it seems like something that is worth addressing if not. It doesn't quite sit right that I could be at a disadvantage when I come back to work. Thanks in advance for any insights!
*edited because I just found a couple of other threads on this*: the replies on those threads suggest there's no way to effectively 'freeze' a rating while on maternity, but that if I log in and send a proposal at least every 3 months during my time off it shouldn't change. I couldn't find an answer about dropping below the 12 month earnings requirement, though, so it'd be great if someone could let me know if that will mean I lose my top rated badge...and if there's a way to avoid that.
Being inactive does not affect a user's account or their reputation. There is a chance that you won't meet some of the eligibility requirements when you are on maternity leave, in that case, your Top Rated status will be removed. If you still meet eligibility requirements, you'll remain Top Rated. 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.
Logging in and sending proposals addresses one issue (the requirement that you have activity in the past 90 days, which conflicts with Bojan's representation that inactivity has no effect).
But, it won't protect you from the other reasons you may lose top rated status over that time: that either old jobs dropped out of your JSS window and your JSS dropped below 90% as a result (unlikely if your ratings have been relatively stable) and the possibility that you'd drop below the earnings requirement. Fortunately, the earnings requirement for regular top rated (v top rated plus) is only $1,000/year, so depending on your current earnings and how long you'll be gone, that may not present a problem at all.
The replies you found have to do with the Top Rated badge, not Top Rated Plus that you mentioned you had. TR requires $1 000+ earnings in 12 months (and a few other things), that is why it's assumed that even with occasional activity, there's a good chance it will remain through maternity leave.
TR Plus requires $10 000+ earnings in 12 months (among other points), so if you anticipate reduced hours and less turnover than that, you will lose the TR Plus badge.
There's no option for maternity leave in the system as of now. I'm sure there have been questions before on this, it has been considered to some extent but the difficulties attached to it have not been yet worked out in detail. Nor are there guarantees they can.
I am in similar situation, and was also looking for other inputs on the subject. Here's a thread with my thoughts, if you are interested: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Maternity-Leave-and-Top-Rated-PLUS-Status/td-p/865876
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