About Carolyn

Savvy guidance on employee benefits

Carolyn McAllister helps employers navigate the complex, always-changing legal landscape of employee benefits. She works with public and private companies, as well as tax-exempt organizations, to solve compliance, design, risk and correction issues related to their employee benefit plans. In particular, Carolyn guides her clients on:

  • Qualified retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and defined benefit pension plans
  • Health and welfare plans
  • Executive compensation
  • Fringe benefits
  • Employee benefits plans in mergers and acquisitions
  • Employee stock ownership plans (ESOP)
  • Impact of COVID-19 on retirement and health/welfare plans

Prior to law school, Carolyn trained as an electrical engineer and worked as a staff accountant for financial institutions. She lived in Germany and acquired a working knowledge of the German language.

Experience in Action

  • Advises employers on severance agreements and voluntary separation pay plans.
  • Counsels plan sponsors on Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance, including affordability requirements, information reporting and assessment of employer shared responsibility payments.
  • Advises employers on design and compliance issues relating to retirement plans, executive compensation, health and welfare plans and fringe benefits.
  • Drafts and restates 401(k) plans, defined benefit pension plans, ERISA welfare wrap plans and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements.
  • Counsels employers on matters relating to cafeteria (section 125) plans, flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA), health reimbursement arrangements (HRA), wellness programs and retiree medical benefits.
  • Analyzes risks and compliance issues for employee benefit plans in mergers and acquisitions, including considerations relating to defined benefit pension plans, multiemployer plans and ACA penalties.
  • Advises companies on equity-based incentives and prepares plan documents and grant agreements for stock options, restricted stock, stock appreciation rights, phantom equity and profits interests.
  • Counsels employers on partial and complete withdrawals from multiemployer pension plans and challenging withdrawal liability assessments.
  • Assists employers during Department of Labor (DOL) investigations and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits of employee benefit plans, and also prepares filings under the IRS and DOL correction programs for complex operational errors involving retirement plans.

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Milwaukee Bar Association, member
  • State Bar of Wisconsin, member
  • Metro Milwaukee Society for Human Resource Management, member
  • Wisconsin Retirement Plan Professionals, Ltd., former board member (2011-2015), former president (2014, 2015)
  • Vineyard Community Church, board chair (2019-present), former board member (2011-2014)
  • U.S. Peace Corps, providing training in business planning to nationals of Kyrgyzstan (1998)

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