Business, Health, Sci-Tech

JCPenney to extend closures, furlough workers amid COVID-19 pandemic

NOTTINGHAM, MD—The response to the COVID-19 emergency continues to take its toll on the economy.

JCPenney announced on Tuesday that it would extend the temporary closure of its stores and business offices. As a result of these store closures, the company will also temporarily furlough the majority of store hourly associates, beginning on April 2nd.

Beginning on April 5, a significant portion of employees in the company’s home office, Salt Lake City, and Soho design offices will be furloughed, along with its store salaried associates. Many of the company’s associates in supply chain and logistics centers had previously been furloughed on March 20, and those furloughs will continue.

“These are difficult days all across the country and the globe. At JCPenney, we are making tough, prudent decisions to protect both the safety of our associates and the future of our company,” said Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney. “We remain optimistic about JCPenney’s ability to weather this pandemic. 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.”

All furloughed associates who are currently enrolled in the JCPenney benefits program will continue to receive full health benefits and the company plans to cover 100 percent of employee-paid premiums for the duration of the furlough. Many impacted employees are also eligible to receive state unemployment benefits, which were recently increased with the passage of the federal stimulus bill.

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“Our thoughts are with our valued associates and their families who are all being affected as we face this troubling time together. This is a true public health crisis, so we are maintaining health benefits and paying premiums for associates,” Soltau said. “We are in conversation with our associates and endeavoring to answer every one of their questions.”

Macy’s also recently announced that it would begin furloughing employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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