VANCOUVER -- Workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic will get extra pay, the B.C. government announced Tuesday.

The lump-sum payment will work out to an extra $4 an hour for a 16-week period starting on March 15, 2020.

It includes health-care staff as well as care aides in nursing homes, people who work in prisons, workers who deliver addictions and mental health services, those who work in homeless shelters, and a wide range of other workers who work with vulnerable people.

Eligible workers will receive the payment directly from their employer and do not need to apply separately, the Ministry of Finance says.

"People at the front lines of the pandemic are working tirelessly to keep us and our loved ones healthy, while also delivering services to the most vulnerable in our community," Carole James, B.C.'s Minister of Finance, said in a press release.

The pandemic pay program will go out to around 250,000 font-line workers. The province is sharing the cost with the federal government, and the plan is part of the B.C. government's $5-billion COVID-19 relief package.