The Plano, Texas, company joins a number of retailers furloughing staff and taking other cost cuts in the face of the coronavirus.
The retailer said it would furlough the majority of its hourly store associates beginning April 2.
Starting April 5, a significant portion of the workforce at headquarters, in Salt Lake City and at its design offices will also be furloughed.
"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," Chief Executive Jill Soltau said in a statement.
Among the retailers and related companies taking cost actions to manage through the pandemic are:
Simon Property (SPG) - Get Report, the country's largest mall operator, furloughed 30% of its staff as a cost cutting measure.
On Monday, Macy's (M) - Get Report said it would furlough most of its employees beginning this week as the store closings forced by coronavirus take a toll on the Cincinnati retailer.