One of the fundamentals of relational database design is the use of unique identifiers. So it’s a reasonable assumption that Payroll Elements can be easily identified by a unique ID of some sort. However nothing is that simple in PeopleSoft Global Payroll.
Each Element is assigned a numerical value called a Pin Number (PIN_NUM). Pin Numbers can be used to identify Elements within the scope of a single instance of PeopleSoft. However, when Elements are migrated to another instance they may be assigned a new Pin Number. Accordingly, Pin Numbers are not a reliable method of identifying Elements.
Each Element has a Pin Name (PIN_NM). The Pin Name field is the primary method by which users lookup/identify Elements using the PeopleSoft GUI. Whilst at first glance Pin Names seem to be unique, it is possible to have duplicate Pin Names in different countries. As a result it is not good practice to identify Elements using Pin Name.
Using the combination of the PIN_NM and COUNTRY fields to uniquely identify Elements is awkward at best. Fortunately PeopleSoft provide a solution. The Pin Code (PIN_CODE) field is a system maintained field that combines the Pin Name and Country Code.
Your choice of unique identifier may change depending on what you’re doing, however in general it is best to use the PIN_CODE. This is especially true when it comes to hard coding Elements references.