I haven’t previously had to translate Abwicklungsvertrag. This was in the context of an attorney’s practice areas, which included drafting Aufhebungsverträge (a contract terminating employment) and Abwicklungsverträge (a contract dealing with the end of employment, after termination has already taken place).
I decided to go for termination agreements and post-termination agreements (the employment context was clear). I could imagine using the German terms in brackets in some contexts. If Harald Schwamborn’s definitions are correct, I don’t think there is anything in English law quite like an Abwicklungsvertrag:
Beim Aufhebungsvertrag wird das Arbeitsverhältnis durch den Vertrag beendet. Beim Abwicklungsvertrag geht eine Kündigung – in der Regel des Arbeitgebers – voraus. Das Arbeitsverhältnis wird also nicht durch den Abwicklungsvertrag beendet, sondern durch die vorausgehende Kündigung. In dem Abwicklungsvertrag wird lediglich geregelt, wie man auseinander geht.
I do find the discussions on proz.com a great resource, although I decided not to follow the results of this one. Kim found an excellent resource at Jones Day (link doesn’t work for me), which suggested settlement agreement. I find that a bit unclear. The original asker’s client obviously had no idea how to deal with the term:
In unserer arbeitsrechtlichen Praxis finden Verwendung:
Aufhebungsvertrag – settlement agreement
Abwicklungsvertrag – contract finalizing agreement
Abwicklung eines Vertrages – winding up a contract
I found a description of German labour law in English at the ILO, but it doesn’t have enough German terminology interspersed.
LATER NOTE (November 2007): the Abwicklungsvertrag struck me as odd again. It means dealing with all the steps of putting an end to an employment relationship. One suggestion was phase-out agreement, more common with greenhouse gases (albeit less effective). I am now tending to settlement agreement. I found this here (excerpt from an article of which non-subscribers could not read the rest, September 2004):
If an employer wishes to end an employment relationship, it can do so either by terminating the employee and trying to conclude a so-called settlement agreement or by trying to conclude a mutually acceptable severance agreement with the employee. An employee will generally only come to terms with an employer on a severance agreement or settlement agreement if the employer agrees to pay an acceptable termination payment. Please note the difference between a “severance agreement” (Aufhebungsvertrag) and a “settlement agreement” (Abwicklungsvertrag). A severance agreement is an agreement concluded between the employee and the employer whereby they…