Coronavirus forces JCPenney to extend closures, furlough workers

JCPenney will cover 100% of employee-paid health insurance premiums

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JCPenney will temporarily furlough the majority of its hourly and corporate employees next month as the company extends the temporary closure of its stores and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority of its store hourly associates will be furloughed April 2 while "a significant portion" of the company's corporate employees will be furloughed April 5. This will impact employees within the company's headquarters in Plano, Texas, as well as corporate offices in Salt Lake City, Utah, and New York City.

Many of the company's supply chain and logistics center employees were previously furloughed on March 20. Those furloughs will continue, according to JCPenney.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE FURLOUGHED?

“At JCPenney, we are making tough, prudent decisions to protect both the safety of our associates and the future of our company,” said JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau. “We also believe these short-term solutions will have a long-term benefit for our associates, customers, and key stakeholders as we look forward to the day that we reopen our doors.”

An employee folds clothes inside a J.C. Penney Co. store in Peoria, Illinois, on Saturday, May 12, 2018. (J Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In response to the evolving crisis, JCPenney previously announced it was temporarily closing all of its stores and business offices until April 2.

However, a majority of retailers nationwide have been forced to extend their temporary closures and furlough or lay off employees as confirmed cases of the spreading virus continue to mount. In the week ending on March 21, there were nearly 3.3 million unemployment-benefit claims in the U.S. alone.

However, the company promised to cover 100 percent of employee-paid premiums during the furloughs. Additionally, the company will continue to give full health benefits to employees that are enrolled in the company's benefits program will continue to receive full health benefits.

CORONAVIRUS PUSHES MACY'S TO FURLOUGH MAJORITY OF 130K WORKERS

“Our thoughts are with our valued associates and their families who are all being affected as we face this troubling time together," Soltau said.

Meanwhile, JCPenney's e-commerce distribution centers and customer care will continue to fulfill online orders and assist customers.

The company expects to gradually reopen stores and offices when it is safe to do so.

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