I got a new job that will start on October 1st (2016), which is a Saturday. I want to ask the HR if Saturdays and Sundays are holidays, but I am kind of shy. The firm in the Netherlands.
Normally you should be told where and when you are supposed to turn up for the first time - often it is a bit later than the normal starting time, because they want managers, team leader etc. ready for you when you arrive. And sometimes companies don't want you to come to your workplace first, but for example to a reception where you can be given name tags, security cards, keys, whatever you need. Just call HR and say:
Hello, my official starting date is the first of October, but that is a Saturday. Could you tell me when I should be there for my first day at work, and where I should go?
Here's an answer to a slightly different question: "The starting date for my new job in the Netherlands is on the 1st of the month, which is a Saturday. Does that mean I have to come to work on a Saturday?" It's not the question you asked, but the cultural context is relevant enough that I think you should get this answer, too.
Your contract probably starts on the 1st of the month because Dutch agreements for office work are normally measured in calendar months: you sign a contract for x months, and you get paid near the end of every calendar month. Because of this, it is common to choose 'the 1st of [month]' as a starting date for a contract, even when that is a weekend day or a day you would not normally work (if you work less than 5 days a week). It's just a really nice date to work with, and avoids the need for handling a first month that is partial. Makes it easy to remember when your contract is about to end, too.
So, that's how you get contracts that start on Saturday-the-1sts. (Or on a Monday-the-1st when you work 32h Tue-Fri -- similar situation.) Whether your first working day will also be that Saturday depends on what sort of job it is, and what sort of employer. Send them an e-mail and ask; for how to write such an e-mail, see the answers that do deal with 'how to ask if it is a holiday'. :-)
Hello < name >, could you please tell me which days of the week are working days for < department name > at < company name >?
This should do. If they tell you that Saturday is a holiday, then you could ask if you are expected to come to work on October 1st. If it was a mistake, they would tell you the correct joining date.
If Saturday is a working day, you won't create an awkward situation if you ask a question as above, as against something like, "My joining date is October 1st, but I thought Saturday is a holiday."
There is also the possibility the company prefers doing the joining formalities on a non-working day, in which case, I expect they would explain that to you.
Bit of background, which isn't directly relevant to you (yet): In Dutch law, resignations are by default per the end of the month.
This also means that HR is very used to new contracts that start per the first of each month. It means new employees are not even a day unemployed, and immediately are covered under a number of insurance policies (e.g. disability). Usually, another day can be arranged if you ask HR and have good reason (e.g. for new employees straight out of school, two weeks extra salary for starting halfway a month would be a good reason)
Something I really liked about being in the Netherlands is that the Dutch tend to be very direct and straight forward. There would be nothing wrong with just asking them about holidays.
Having said that, I also understand that you want to make a good impression before you start.
You may want to send an email like... "hello, I would just like to confirm the date and time I should arrive for the first day?" It avoids the issue of asking about holidays and makes it more about wanting to turn up at the right place.
As a side note, it's normal for jobs to have Saturday and Sunday off in the Netherlands. This might change for jobs such as hotels, bar work, etc... but if you're working in an office for instance then you'll almost certainly be starting on a Monday.
The answer of why your contract states the 1st of the month while that day being part of the weekend has already been given. However, as a Dutch person, I'd like to add some cultural perspective that might help understand the situation.
For most types of jobs the days of the week one is expected to work at is relatively consistent. Office jobs are mostly on weekdays only, and emergency services and the hospitality sector also expect you to work weekends. This may help you to assert the situation in your case.
As mentioned before, we are a very open and direct people, and asking for clarification of a certain situation is considered to be acceptable and not disrespectful in the least. In fact, I would go as far as saying that most people may actually appreciate this, as it indicates you want to be sure of something, and honesty and certainty are common values for conversations in Dutch culture. You'd get along just fine.
Good luck with the new job, and enjoy the experience!
Will you be paid monthly? If the month starts on a Saturday but you only work Monday-Friday, would you be happy if your first cheque was for 29/31 of a nonth?
But just call HR and ask when (and where) they want you to turn up. What's the big problem?
01/10/2016 is a saturday, so your contract starts on a saturday. Unless the company is open for business on saturdays, your actual work week is monday to friday and you're expected to show up on the 3rd.
I've NEVER had a job where I didn't get a letter or email telling when and where to report on my first day, and what person to ask for at the reception desk to handle my induction in the company (access cards, desk and equipment assignment, things like that).
If you've not had such a letter or email, contact the company and ASK.