Empowering the Freelance Economy

Upwork helps preserve careers of Ukraine freelancers and suspends all ties with Russia and Belarus – for now

Hayden Brown, CEO of Upwork
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Upwork, the freelancer talent platform, has suspended all business operations in Russia and Belarus, taking full effect by May 1, 2022. It has already started shutting down Upwork support for new business generation in both countries.

Over the next few days, freelancers and clients in Russia and Belarus will no longer be able to sign up for new Upwork accounts, initiate new contracts, or be visible in search. However, if Russian and Belarusian freelancers and companies choose to relocate to another country where Upwork operates, the company is considering reinstating them on the platform.

Upwork is working on measures – both immediate and rolling out soon – to support Ukrainian freelancers and the Ukrainian community as a result of Russia’s invasion into the country, including:

  • A $1 million donation to Direct Relief International in support of the Ukrainian population.
  • Product enhancements to make it easier for Ukrainian freelancers to preserve the careers they have worked so hard to establish, whether or not they are currently able to work. 
  • Programs to make it easier for clients to maintain their existing relationships with and provide financial assistance to talent in Ukraine.
  • A $100,000 matching program for donations from our own team members to aid in humanitarian relief in Ukraine.

“We honour the relationships that exist between our customers and recognize the swift adjustments that they will need to make as they process this announcement. As such, existing contracts with talent and clients in the region will remain open, with final billing due by May 1, 2022.,” said Upwork in a press statement.

The freelancer jobs platform said that its management made the decision with the “utmost consideration” and fully understand the significant impact this decision has on its Upwork community in Russia and Belarus.

“If and when these customers are able to relocate to regions where we operate, we will support them in continuing their work on our platform. Additionally, should the geopolitical situation in Russia and Belarus change, we hope to be able to resume operations.”

Upwork said as it navigates these decisions and actions, freelancers can view communications via its  Community Resource page, which is being updated with new developments and FAQs.

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