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Unemployment question

Hi, I am recently new to Upwork, I am working on my first project.  I started working as a freelancer to increase my income.  I lost my job last year and have been claiming unemployment from my state.  When I do work ( I have 1 part time job) I still have to file what I made, so my question is now that I have made my first income through Upwork, how do I list who paid me...Upwork or the company/person I am doing work for?

Community Member

Interesting question and one that I don't think has been asked before.  You don't work for Upwork so I assume the client is what you would list.  Or perhaps you can just put "freelance income" and your field.  You probably should contact your unemployment compensation people and try to get an answer from them as I'm sure it varies state to state.


In California, the unemployment claim form asks for the name of the employer as well as their address. Should I put "Upwork" as the employer or the client that hired me?

I'm in the same quandary, because I don't have company address information for my current Upwork client. I also don't know if I should claim the gross amount that was billed to the client or the post-fee amount that I ended up being paid on my unemployment income reporting form.


Does anyone have guidelines for this?

Upwork is not employment income.  It is self-employment income.  See if there is a space for that.

Yeah, I know that.

But I need to claim my Upwork income on my unemployment claim, and it asks for a company name and address for whomever paid me freelance pay. 

I was asking what I should put as the employer and address, because I do not have an address for the client that hired me through Upwork. And also do I claim the amount the client was billed or the amount I was paid (less the Upwork fee?)

I have no expertise on this topic whatsoever. I am not an authority in any way. I highly doubt that Upwork will answer your questions directly. Upwork employees will probably only ask that you consult with local experts and authorities. But I want to provide you with answers to your questions.


For the address, put down Upwork's headquarters address, which you can Google or otherwise look up.


For the amount, put down the full amount of the contract, ignoring the Upwork fee.

Thank you, but my Upwork income report clearly states that I am "not an employee of Upwork" and they are simply the facilitator of the contract between me and my Upwork client.


So I'm guessing that my Upwork client should be named as the employer? 

I'm also a little confused about the amount -- any freelance income I earn reduces the amount of unemployment benefits I receive so that 20% fee is actually a pretty nasty hit at the end because not only does Upwork take it out of my contract fee, but then unemployment takes it out of my benefits, so essentially I'm getting nailed for that twice. 

Hi Julie,


As Preston noted, we won't be able to provide legal advice here and you may need to consult with your own adviser on how to proceed in your situation. You may check out section 2 of the User Agreement for more information about the relationship with Upwork. Also note that when the client and the freelancer agree that the freelancer is clarified as an employee instead of an independent contractor, the freelancer must be hired through Upwork Payroll

~ Valeria

Thank you, Valeria. The client and I are definitely in a freelance independent contractor situation and not an actual employer/employee situation at this time. 

I was collecting unemployment before signing on to Upwork, because I lost my full time job due to COVID. As I am still collecting unemployment, any freelance work I may get has to be reported to my state's unemployment board. The instructions on this claim process say that I need to report any pre-tax (gross) income I earn from freelance work, and provide the company name and address of the company that contracted my work. Since this is the first time I have been hired as an independent contractor through Upwork, I was just trying to make sure I reported my freelance earnings correctly so I would not jeopardize my unemployment benefits. 

Julie, to be really honest... most of us here don't know anything about this. Most Upwork freelancers don't use those forms, and most don't live in the same state as you do. Or the same country. If these forms are important to you, you will probably need to find a better place to ask questions about them.


Even if there is a question on a form that asks a question about the address of your employer... people at Upwork can point to definitions about whether or not Upwork is your employer. But we don't know if the people to whom you submit the form would want you to put down Upwork's address or not. Maybe they never really gave your situation much thought. I think if you asked ten of them you would get three of four different opinions on the matter.

I was just hoping someone else here had been through this process and knew the ropes. My state's unemployment website isn't very helpful on this matter and calling them is brain damage because you spend hours being shuffled from one department to another and sitting on hold.


I'm diligently trying to find full time work that I can do from home, but before COVID I worked for 32 years in the film and TV industry. We will most likely be the last industry to recover from the pandemic. I'm high risk because I'm a cancer survivor and the treatments did permanent damage that would leave me very vulnerable to the virus. I literally haven't left my house since March. Cases and hospitalizations are still quite active in my area.

Julie, I totally get your frustration.  If it were me, I would put the client's name and Upwork's address. If push came to shove, the state could presumably get in touch with the client through Upwork.  This is not advice, just what I would do if I were in that situation.

I was looking for the same answers and stumbled upon this video from the EDD. Start watching around 8:33. It seems like we can put in our own name and address for self employment work and then put in NET pay rather than gross pay for this. I believe the service fee from upwork counts as a "cost". If a client on Upwork is paying over a certain amount and will be sending you a 1099 then I would probably enter them separately and ask for their full name and address.   

Thank you Chad! I was on here looking for the same answers Julie was looking for. I just finished a chat with Upwork customer service and they weren't sure what I should do. This definietley helps! Julie, I hope you were able to figure out what was best for you!

The video looks like is set to be private and not accessible .can you please summarize what it includes?

Community Member

I just came across this post as I was searching.  It's 1.5 years late, but in case it helps anyone!  In Florida on the Unemployment site this is what it states:  "Service performed by an employee for the person employing him or her or any services performed as a self-employed individual."


Hope it helps someone!

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